The processing of hazardous waste is highly regulated by the EPA across the United States. In the entire state of California, there are just 102 permitted hazardous waste facilities.
If you've found hazardous waste where you work or at a site you own, you've got a problem. It's illegal, not to mention extremely dangerous, for just anyone to transport hazardous waste to one of these sites. You need to hire a company with a hazardous waste transportation license to take on your job.
Let's take a look at what's involved in hazardous waste transportation. We'll explore the types of services they provide and exactly when you might need to give them a call.
What Is a Licensed Hazardous Waste Transporter?
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulates everything to do with hazardous waste. If you generate hazardous waste in your business, you need to take a 'cradle to grave' approach to hazardous waste management. You also need to follow this act if you find hazardous waste in a property you own, such as a rental property.
You need a licensed hazardous waste transporter if you are planning to transport hazardous waste off-site. Hazardous waste that is transported within the site is not covered by this act. Any time hazardous waste is transported on a public roadway, you must comply with this act.
Any company or individual wishing to do this must apply for a hazardous waste transportation license. In California, these are issued by the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC).
Transporters must meet a number of requirements, including:
Obtaining EPA ID numbers
Registration and insurance
Strict manifesting procedures
Medical and Trauma Scene Hazardous Waste Management
Transporting hazardous waste of a biological origin is different. Trauma scene waste management practitioners must register with the California Department of Public Health. They need to follow the requirements of the Medical Waste Management Act.
Not all companies are trained and licensed to handle both types of hazardous waste. Bio-hazardous waste transporters can dispose of all medical waste, including:
Blood soaked materials
Other hazardous waste streams of biological origin
The Purpose of a Hazardous Waste Transport License
The philosophy behind the EPA's management of hazardous waste is to account for it at every stage of its existence. This cradle-to-grave approach aims to keep the public safe from the risks posed by hazardous waste.
The EPA and its regulatory partners regularly inspect hazardous waste transporters. If you hire a company with a license, you know that they will be subject to strict checks. That's a protection for you as the generator of the hazardous waste.
Can Hazardous Waste Transporters Store Waste?
Yes, they can, but only on a temporary basis.
This part of the process is also highly regulated by the EPA. First, the waste must be stored in containers that meet the required specifications. Next, they may remain at the transfer facility for a maximum of 10 days.
The 10 days include transportation time. So transportation from the generator to the transfer site, and from that site to the waste facility must total no more than 10 days.
The Importance of Transporting Hazardous Waste
If you're the generator of hazardous waste, it's very important to choose the right transportation company. In the eyes of the law, you remain responsible for the hazardous waste even when it has been taken off your hands. So before choosing a company for hazardous waste transport, do a little checking.
The EPA's hazardous waste manifest system is a key part of the process. It protects you as the generator and ensures that all the waste you generate arrives at its final destination.
EPA Hazardous Waste Manifest System
The manifest system tracks hazardous waste from the time it leaves you until it arrives at the waste management facility.
First, obtain the correct Unified Hazardous Waste Manifest forms. They're available from an approved EPA Manifest Registry.
Many states have their own requirements. This includes state-specific waste codes that generators must use on the manifest. They may also have additional requirements for the storage and transportation of hazardous waste.
Alternatively, you may now use the e-Manifest system. Manifests can be created and submitted electronically with no need for paper copies.
Once you have prepared the manifest, the shipment can be handed over to the transporter. They will sign and date the manifest to acknowledge receipt. The manifest must stay with the shipment at all times.
When the waste arrives at the treatment facility, the transporter will have the manifest signed and dated by the receiver. The transporter will keep a copy for three years.
Situations Requiring Hazardous Waste Management
Businesses that regularly generate hazardous waste need to become familiar with these requirements. It's a good idea to contact a hazardous waste transportation company to handle all of their waste.
But occasionally, other businesses and individuals may need these services.
For example, a landlord may discover that their rental property has been used as a meth lab. No matter who created the lab, the owner is responsible for cleanup.
Meth lab remediation can only be carried out by licensed, trained companies. Transporting and disposing of meth lab waste is highly regulated.
Other situations include accident or violence trauma cleanup and suicide cleanup.
Choose HCI for Hazardous Waste Transportation
Hazardous waste transportation is no joke. It's a highly regulated process at both the federal and state level. If you generate any hazardous waste, it's your responsibility from cradle to grave.
You can trust HCI Environmental with your hazardous waste transportation. We hold a California hazardous waste transportation license. We can handle all types of waste, including bio-hazardous waste.
To find out how we can help, contact us online or call us at 866.546.3257.