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Do You Have Waste That Has One of the EPA’s 4 Hazardous Properties? Is It On a Toxic Waste List? See How the EPA Breaks It Down So You Aren’t Surprised…

Hazardous Waste SymbolDetermining If Waste is a Hazardous Waste

The EPA’s RCRA regulations establish two ways to classify solid wastes as a hazardous waste. The first way is that if the waste has ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, or toxicity, it is determined to be a hazardous waste. The second way is if the waste is included on a specific list of wastes the  EPA has determined are hazardous. The wastes are on this list because they pose hazards to human health or the environment.

  1. If the waste exhibits certain any of these  hazardous properties…
    • Ignitability
    • Corrosivity
    • Reactivity
    • Toxicity
  2. If the waste is included on a specific list of wastes EPA has determined are hazardous in one of these 4 lists…
    • The F list (non-specific source wastes) – The F list designates as hazardous particular solid wastes from certain industrial or manufacturing processes. Because the processes producing these wastes can occur in different sectors of industry, the F list wastes are known as wastes from nonspecific sources. Wastes included on the F list are found in the regulations at 40 CFR 261.31.
    • The K list (source-specific wastes) – The K list designates particular solid wastes from certain specific industries as hazardous. Wastes included on the K list are found in the regulations at 40 CFR 261.32.
    • The P list and the U list (discarded commercial chemical products) – These two lists are similar in that both list as hazardous certain commercial chemical products when they are discarded or intended to be discarded. These listings consist of commercial chemical products having the generic names listed, off-specification species, container residues, and spill residues. The difference is that the chemicals on the P list are identified as acute hazardous wastes and those on the U list are identified as toxic wastes. Some chemicals on both lists may also be designated to have other properties. Wastes included on the P and U lists can be found in the regulations at 40 CFR 261.33.

Waste Codes

These four lists each designate anywhere from 30 to a few hundred wastestreams as hazardous. Each waste on the lists is assigned a waste code consisting of the letter associated with the list followed by three numbers. For example, the wastes on the F list are assigned the waste codes F001, F002, and so on. These waste codes are an important part of the RCRA regulatory system. Assigning the correct waste code to a waste has important implications for the management standards that apply to the waste. The wastes on the F and K lists can be divided further into subgroups.

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