Disposal of Treated Wood Waste (TWW) in California

Disposal of Treated Wood Waste (TWW) in California

What is Treated Wood Waste

Treated Wood Waste (TWW) is waste from wood products intended for outdoor use or for wet areas that has been treated with preservatives to prevent rot or decay.  Examples of these wood products include:

  • Utility poles, fence posts and rails
  • Lawn furniture and decks.
  • Playground equipment.
  • Garden/landscape timbers.
  • Log homes
  • Railroad Ties

Typical preservatives include:

  • chromated arsenicals (copper/chromium and/or arsenic);
  • pentachlorophenol (PCP);
  • creosote
  • as well other newer preservatives (ACQ, Borates, Copper Azole, Copper Naphthalene, etc.)

Under federal (RCRA) hazardous waste regulations, as long as levels of metals or pesticides do not exceed TCLP thresholds for metals or pesticides in 40 CFR 261.24, then disposal of TWW is not regulated.  California regulations are more stringent than federal standards and many treated wood products are considered hazardous waste under California regulations when disposed of.  Specifically, California defines “treated wood waste” (TWW) as:

  1. Waste wood products treated with a preservative regulated under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) with no other hazardous waste characteristics, and
  2. Not subject to regulation under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

Disposal of TWW in California (until 12/31/2020)

California regulations require TWW to be managed as non-RCRA hazardous waste, however California Helath and Safety Code  (CA HSC 25150.7)  established “alternative management standards” (AMS) for TWW found in Title 22 of the California Code of Regulations, Sections 67386.1 to 67386.12 (22 CCR 67386.1 – 673286.12).   Among other requirements, the “alternative” management allowed disposal in lined landfills that are not permitted for hazardous waste, as long as the landfill permit allows them to accept TWW.

Currently most TWW is sent to non-hazardous waste landfills under these “alternative” methods, however CA HSC 25150.7 (and associated regulations) expire on December 31, 2020.  After that date, TWW must be managed as non-RCRA hazardous waste.

Utility Exemption

There is an exemption for TWW generated by utilities.  As authorized in CA HSC 25143.3.5 TWW from utilities , including poles, crossarms, pilings, fence posts, lumber, support timbers, flume lumber, and cooling tower lumber can still be sent to landfills as long as the wood waste does not need to be managed as RCRA hazardous waste and the landfill meets certain requirements and is permitted to accept the TWW

Disposal of TWW in California (After 12/31/2020)

Beginning January 1, 2021, TWW must be managed as non-RCRA hazardous waste.

  • Since the definition of TWW includes all wood wastes treated with FIFRA-regulated preservatives (without any thresholds or other criteria), there is not even the option to conduct TTLC/STLC and/or aquatic toxicity to show this was does not exhibit characteristic toxicity

After the provisions “alternative management” of TWW expire on 12/31/202, landfill disposal outside of hazardous waste landfills is no longer authorized and TWW must be accumulated, stored, managed, transported and disposed of as non-RCRA hazardous waste at a hazardous waste landfill permitted for this type of waste.

Do you have Treated Wood Waste to dispose of?  Do you have any other hazardous waste questions?  Let us know how we can help – [email protected]

2021 Paint Waste Disposal Guide

Paint brings colors to the world. We use it to color our houses, buildings, and cars. We use it for our arts, crafts, and hobbies. It’s so common that we often take paint for granted. However, we must remember that paint and its related products are still chemicals and must be handled with care.

Most paints are either oil-based or water-based with each type having dissimilar characteristics. However, the common denominator is that the chemicals used in paints are often toxic and may cause environmental contamination or health problems. The volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in paint are harmful to the environment as well as the people working around paint. Some kinds of paints are also flammable and reactive.

Because of such dangers, paints and paint-related products are considered to be hazardous wastes. As such, they should be disposed of properly. This article will discuss in detail about the nuances of paint hazardous waste disposal.

An Overview of Paint Waste Disposal

In the past, leftover paint was mixed together with municipal waste and discarded in landfills. This action resulted in hazardous compounds from discarded paints seeping into the ground. These compounds eventually entered the water table below the subsoil, often contaminating the municipality’s water supply.

In addition, the discarded paints’ active ingredients are either toxic or flammable or both. Fauna that accidentally ingests paint compounds may fall seriously ill or even die. Surrounding flora may absorb toxic chemicals through their roots. These dangerous compounds may be present in their leaves, fruits, and seeds which people and other animals eat.  Sources of heat such as a carelessly discarded cigarette, a spark from a welder’s torch, or even sunlight during a hot day can ignite the volatile compounds of waste paint. 

Old and used paint and paint products, therefore, should be disposed properly. In general, waste paint is often stabilized and treated to nullify the toxic, flammable, and reactive compounds. It is then solidified so that it can be safely disposed of in a landfill.

Because many brands of paints and paint-related products contain flammable components, these components can be extracted and recycled into industrial fuel. Paints may also be incinerated in waste-to-energy facilities before the ashes are disposed of.

Paint Waste Disposal Types: Industrial and Residential

Paints are both used by industrial facilities and residences. Each sector has its own way of collecting and disposing paints.

Industrial Paint Disposal

Manufacturers of cars, appliances, electronics, and other products often use paint to protect and provide color to their products. Because of the requirement for mass production, these manufacturers often generate large quantities of waste paint. 

Industrial facilities must strictly follow the guidelines for paint hazardous waste disposal in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) for disposing paints. These guidelines are enacted and enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through state departments and local government units.

Disposal of industrial paint can be done in various ways. Some of the most common ways are listed below:

Residential paint disposal

Households often have leftover paint from previous home renovation or repair projects. Family members may also generate smaller amounts of waste paint through crafts such as art painting or scale modeling. 

While the amount of waste paint generated in a residence is vastly smaller than those generated by factories, households must still follow the right practices and processes when it comes to paint hazardous waste disposal. 

Remember that it’s prohibited to discard paints in drains and sewer lines. So how do you as an ordinary household member dispose of leftover paint?  Fortunately, collecting and disposing household-generated paint is cheaper and more manageable than industrial waste paint management.

Disposal of Latex and Oil-Based Paint

How do you dispose of latex or oil-based paint that has been lying in your home or facility for quite some time? Here are a few tips on how to dispose of them:

Latex or acrylic paint

Oil-based paint

Oil-based paints are pigments suspended in an oil medium. It’s known as a popular art media, but it can also be used for more practical purposes. Enamel paints used to paint wrought-iron outdoor furniture is an example of an oil-based paint.

Disposing oil-based paints properly is difficult due to its non-polar, hydrophobic characteristic (i.e., it does not mix or dissolve in water). It also contains VOCs, which cannot be dried or deactivated.

If possible, use water-based counterparts rather than oil-based paints. However, if oil-based paints must be used, then you need to treat oil-based paints as hazardous waste. For disposal of waste paints, bring the containers to your nearest hazardous waste disposal facility. Alternatively, you can call a professional waste disposal service provider for safe and proper disposal for oil paints. 

Finally, as with water-based paints, do not pour oil-based paints down the drain.

Management of Paint Related Materials

You will most likely use other paint-related chemicals in conjunction with the paint. The most common ones are paint thinners and aerosol cans.

Paint thinners

Put used paint thinner in a metal can or a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Label the lid as a hazardous waste. Wait for the sediments to settle to the bottom, this might take several days to weeks. Carefully pour the clear thinner in another container for reusing. 

The container with the solid sediments should be disposed of as hazardous waste. Bring it to your hazardous waste disposal facility, follow a curbside hazardous waste collection, or have a professional do it for you. The same process applies for stale, unusable thinner that needs to be disposed of.

Like paints, do not discharge paint thinners and its residuals down the drain.

Aerosol cans

For safety, it’s best to use every bit of paint to the point that there’s no more pressurized air coming out of the can when you press the nozzle. Completely empty cans with no pressure can be thrown as regular trash.

Partially full or completely full aerosol cans should be treated and discarded as hazardous waste and, as thus, are subject to local, state, or federal regulations. 

Do not puncture aerosol cans or subject them to heat even when completely empty. Doing either may cause the can to explode violently, which can cause serious injuries.

2021 Hazardous Waste Regulations

The RCRA contains the regulations that cover hazardous wastes including paints. The EPA enacts and enforces these regulations through its state departments. Local government agencies such as departments of public sanitation, public health, and safety use RCRA rules (or base their own rules on RCRA regulations) to regulate hazardous wastes.

Water-based paints are usually not covered under RCRA regulation because they are considered non-flammable. However, both oil and water based paints contain metallic pigments, metals, fortifiers, and additives. These compounds are considered hazardous wastes when disposed of. 

In addition, aerosol cans are regulated as hazardous waste when disposed of due to the oil-based paints, chemical blends, and propellants inside the canister.

The specific regulations for paint hazardous waste disposal and classification are too expensive to be adequately covered in this article. For specifics, check out Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

Conclusion

The world uses paint every day. It’s a useful commodity that brightens and protects our homes and cities. However, they do contain chemicals that could pose a hazard to the environment and a detriment to human health. As such, we should use them responsibly, from acquisition to disposal.

Gasoline Hazardous Disposal Guide

Gasoline, like many other fuels, is a valuable substance; it’s difficult to imagine a world without being fueled by gasoline. However, gasoline that isn’t combusted but introduced into the environment can endanger the environment and public health. 

Whether liquid or as a vapor, gasoline is highly flammable and toxic to living organisms. Uncontrolled burning of gasoline can produce a considerable amount of carbon monoxide and soot which could pollute the air. Liquid gasoline can seep into the ground and penetrate into the groundwater, contaminating the municipal potable water sources. 

With serious environmental, health, and legal repercussions in mind, gasoline disposal should be done according to federal or state regulations for public and environmental safety.

How to Dispose of Gasoline?

Gasoline is often used combusted right away. So is there such a thing as waste gasoline? Yes, there is.

Unused amounts of gasoline stored for months in vehicles, lawnmowers, and other fuel-powered equipment can degrade and can become a pollutant. Extra gasoline that is stored in containers in case of emergencies may be unused for months or even years. That old junk car sitting on your lawn may have old fuel in the tank. 

This stale fuel can leak out, especially if stored in damaged tanks and containers. The toxic vapors may also permeate out of these tanks and containers, causing a health and environmental hazard.

As such, hazardous waste disposal of gasoline must be done correctly.

Dangers of Gasoline Disposal

Hazardous waste disposal of gasoline starts with you. It’s important to follow the steps mentioned above in order to reduce the hazards of improper gasoline disposal.

Gasoline Disposal Regulations

According to the US federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), gasoline is classified as a “characteristic hazardous waste” because it exhibits two main characteristics:

In the U.S., the disposal, management, and handling of hazardous wastes such as gasoline are regulated by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The EPA is the enforcing arm of RCRA regulations. 

Finally, RCRA often requires generators of hazardous wastes to track the life cycle of hazardous waste, from its manufacture to its final disposal, commonly called “cradle to grave” requirements. This record allows the EPA to lessen the amount of illegally disposed of hazardous waste.

Gasoline Disposal Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions regarding hazardous waste disposal of gasoline.

Pour old gasoline into a government-approved and certified gasoline container. Ensure that you only fill up to 95% to make room for the vapors. Seal the container tightly and deliver to the recycling center, hazardous waste disposal facility, auto shop, and other facilities that repurpose, treat, or dispose of old gasoline.

Under the RCRA, gasoline is considered a characteristic hazardous waste as it exhibits two characteristics: ignitability and toxicity. Thus, hazardous waste disposal of gasoline should be disposed of following RCRA regulations.

No. The gasoline permeates through the soil and may contaminate the water table below.

Due to the loose nature of the soil, gasoline can rapidly penetrate the soil layer and can persist in the soil or sediment layer for quite some time although the exact duration is unknown as of this time. However, we could find no recent study or research to determine how long the substance stays in the soil.

If you accidentally spill a small amount of gasoline on the hard, impermeable ground such as your garage floor, use sawdust, rags, or paper to absorb the spill. Put these in a plastic bag and don’t throw it together with the household trash. 

If you accidentally spilled gasoline on soil, dig out the soil---around 1 foot deep---around the spilled area. Put the soil in the plastic bag and prepare it for hazardous waste collection.

It depends. If the vapor still remains, there is a potential that the gas may ignite if there are heat sources nearby. But if the gas has completely dissipated, then the chances of spontaneous combustion are negligible.

Conclusion

Gasoline is a valuable commodity, and it makes many of the world’s machines run. While we acknowledge that using fossil fuels is detrimental to the environment, it’s difficult to cease the production and usage of gasoline pending the development of an equally effective alternative fuel source.

While gasoline is a useful fuel, it’s also a dangerous chemical when not handled with care. When it comes to hazardous waste disposal of gasoline, we should understand this fuel’s dangers, stick to safety procedures, and follow the regulations to ensure safe and secure disposal.

Is Methanol Flammable or Combustible?

Methanol is a light and colorless liquid that has an alcoholic odor similar to that of ethanol. Over 200 million tons of methanol is produced globally each year. It is a base or an ingredient in many commodity chemicals such as acetic acid, gasoline additive, formaldehyde, and many more. 

So, quick answer:

Whether in liquid or gaseous form, methanol is highly flammable. Gaseous methanol molecules can travel quite a distance. This could potentially spread fires in other places. Methanol containers can explode if they’re not sufficiently insulated or protected. When in contact with a platinum-blank catalyst, methanol can also ignite. 

Now that you know this information, maybe you’d like to know more about.

What is Methanol and What are Its Unique Characteristics?

Methanol, commonly known as methyl alcohol or carbinol, is a chemical species belonging to a methyl group of substances linked to a hydroxyl group. It’s also known as wood alcohol in the past due to its extraction process through destructive wood distillation. At present, methanol is created by hydrogenation of carbon monoxide in industrial facilities.

Normal healthy humans produce small amounts of methanol, about 4.5 parts per million (ppm). It can be found in human tissues and bio-fluids such as blood, saliva, or cerebrospinal fluid. The methanol can be metabolized with the structural acid pectin, which is often found in citrus fruits and several types of vegetables. Anaerobic bacteria and phytoplankton also produce small amounts of methanol. 

On a much larger scale, regions in outer space that are known to form stars contain vast amounts of methanol. In fact, astronomers use them as markers for such regions. For example, in 2006, using an array of radio telescopes, astronomers discovered a colossal cloud of methanol in space. That cloud is around 288 billion miles in diameter.

Commercially available methanol is classified into various purity grades, typically classified as ASTM purity grades A and AA. Impurities include water, acetone, and ethanol. To detect these impurities, methods such as UV-vis spectroscopy and Kark-Fischer titration are used.

Hazards Associated with Using Methanol

Aside from being highly flammable, methanol has other properties that make it dangerous if not handled properly.

Toxic

Prolonged exposure to methanol vapor can cause eye irritation, headaches, drowsiness, and fatigue. A person who accidentally ingests as little as 10 milligrams of methanol can become permanently blind as the optic nerve is destroyed.

Ingesting 30 milligrams of methanol is probably fatal. Swallowing 50,000 ppm can cause death within 1 to 2 hours. The toxicity of ingested methanol is carried out by either of two mechanisms. One, methanol can cause death because it affects the central nervous system. Specifically, it acts as a central nervous system depressant. 

Also, methanol is metabolized into formaldehyde in a process catalyzed in the liver. Formaldehyde is used as an embalming agent and is incredibly damaging to the liver, causing hypoxia at a cellular level. 

Fortunately, the effects start a few hours after ingestion, so there is time to administer an antidote to prevent permanent physical damage.

Reactive

Methanol belongs to the “Alcohols and Polyols” reactive group. When mixed with acetyl bromide, methanol reacts violently. Mixing methanol with concentrated hydrogen peroxide, sulfuric acid, anhydrous lead perchlorate, or isocyanates can cause dangerous explosions. 

Methanol also reacts to hypochlorous acid in water solution, producing methyl hypochlorite. Methyl hypochlorite decomposes in low temperatures and can explode when exposed to sunlight or heat. The same reaction happens when methanol is mixed with chlorine.

Incompatibility

Methanol should be cautiously used with cellulose-based absorbents. There have been plenty of situations when untoward reactions happen when methanol is added to these absorbents.

Finally, according to the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT), exposure to methanol at levels found in fruits and vegetables does not cause adverse results.

Precautions

In case of contact, inhalation, exposure, and ingestion

Avoid direct exposure as much as possible when handling methanol. At the very least, ANSI-approved rubber gloves and safety goggles must be worn. However, in many facilities, more comprehensive protective equipment is often required such as those that cover the face, eyes, and body.

In case of spills and leaks

If methanol is accidentally spilled, immediately get in touch with the fire department. Get rid of potential sources of combustion such as lighters, matches, radiators, and embers. 

Isolate the spill or leaks for at least 150 meters in all directions. Do not contain, stop the spill, or reduce the discharge if you’re not properly trained for it. Avoid touching or walking on the spillage. If possible, provide barriers (dams) far ahead of the methanol spill to contain the liquid. Stay upwind to protect yourself from vapors and potential explosions. 

For small spills, add soil or sand on the spot—the material absorbs the ethanol. Later, have a specialist transfer the methanol-soaked material in the right containers.

Correct storage

Methanol must be placed in air-tight, leak-proof, and high-quality containers. Methanol containers should never be left open as the vapors are combustible and toxic. Sealed methanol containers should be sealed and labeled according to state, local, and on-site regulations. Facilities should also train personnel on how to handle and move methanol containers. 

Methanol is non-corrosive, thus they can be kept together with most metals. However, note that it can corrode metals such as platinum, magnesium, and lead.

Firefighting

Methanol has a very low flash point. This means very small amounts of ignition material can possibly cause fire. Also, because methanol is water soluble, using water to extinguish methanol-caused fires may not be enough.

To extinguish small or big fires, use dry chemicals, alcohol-resistant foam, or carbon dioxide. Check your fire extinguisher; it should have any of these chemicals. You can still use water, but as mentioned above, it might be inefficient. Adjust the nozzle so that the water flows in pressurized sprays.

If a tank containing methanol catches on fire, fight the fire from a maximum distance as indicated in the firefighting apparatus’s instructions. It is also important to cool down other containers by spraying them constantly with water. If you hear venting sounds, withdraw from the area immediately and evacuate all personnel from the facility.

Call the fire department right away in case a methanol-based fire breaks out.

Correct Disposal

Due to the hazardous nature of methanol, they need to be disposed of correctly. Licensed and professional waste disposal service providers like ACT Enviro have the right equipment and trained personnel to safely and properly handle such tasks. Calling such waste disposal services is the best and safest option for you in disposing methanol. 

Do not dispose of waste methanol or water that is contaminated with methanol directly into sewers or drains. Nor should it be poured into open bodies of water such as ponds or lakes.

Uses & Benefits

For all its hazards, methanol is a widely used chemical.

Food

Methanol is a naturally occurring substance in fruits and vegetables. In natural dietary amounts, methanol is essential in regulating human gene activity. Our digestive system also creates methanol to metabolize the food we eat.

Fuel

Almost half the methanol the world produces is utilized for energy-related processes and applications. It can be used as a fuel for vehicle or marine vessels. Gasoline formulations that include methanol as an additive result in a more efficient fuel called methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE). MTBE is more environmentally friendly fuel than gasoline as it produces fewer emissions. Methanol can be added in biodiesel, which is a clean and renewable fuel based on plants or animal fats.

Race car teams often mix water and methanol. This is then injected into high-performance diesel or gasoline engines for a boost in power and a decrease in intake air pressure.

Solvent for commercial products

Methanol is also used as a solvent to create resins, adhesives, inks and dyes.

Pharmaceuticals

Despite its hazardous nature, methanol is also widely used in the pharmaceutical industry. Specifically, it is utilized as an important solvent in manufacturing pharmaceutical products such as vitamins, hormones, streptomycin, and more.

Antifreeze

One of the unique properties of methanol is that it increases the boiling point and lowers the freezing point of water-based liquids. As such, methanol is used as antifreeze in windshield washer fluids and pipelines. Methanol is also introduced in main natural gas pipelines to lower the freezing point of the gas.  

In countries that comprise the European Union, methanol was once used in washing windshield washing or defrosting. But as of May 2019, the EU banned this method due to the risk of human exposure.

Other Applications

In the past, methanol was used to produce “denatured alcohol” or “methylated spirit.” This was a prevalent practice to discourage people from buying and consuming illegally produced liquor.  

Some wastewater treatment plants use a small amount of methanol in the wastewater. The methanol provides a carbon food source for the enzymes and denitrifying bacteria. These bacteria convert nitrates in wastewater to harmless nitrogen gas.  

Methanol is also used in new, experimental types of fuel cells, specifically direct-methanol fuel cells. These fuel cells are characterized by low-temperature and atmospheric pressure operation. These features allow them to be effectively miniaturized. Combined with safe storage of methanol, this technology can open up the way for fuel cell-powered (rather than battery powered) mobile phones, laptops, tablets, and other consumer electronics. 

Mountaineers, hikers, and other outdoorsmen often use methanol as fuel for their camping stoves. Since methanol burns efficiently without the need of a pressurized burner, campers can bring very simple and compact alcohol stoves; some campers even make their own handy stoves from discarded cans. The simplicity and reliability of these alcohol stoves is an advantage in the wilderness. On the other hand, broken complex equipment in the outdoors can become a nightmare. Methanol can be processed into a gel, so outdoorsmen can carry them in their packs without the risk of spilling.

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