Ohio EPA recently added paint, paint-related wastes, antifreeze and aerosol containers to its list of materials classified as “universal waste,” which already included lamps, pesticides, mercury-containing equipment and discarded batteries.
Universal waste is a category of hazardous waste that is exempt from most hazardous waste requirements, assuming it is managed according to Ohio EPA’s universal waste regulations at Ohio Administrative Code Chapter 3745-273. Unlike other types of hazardous waste, it does not count toward the amount of hazardous waste a facility accumulates each month, and it can be stored onsite for longer periods (up to one year from the time generated). Also, facilities that accumulate small quantities of universal waste (less than 11,023 pounds at any time) are not required to notify Ohio EPA of their universal waste activities or obtain an identification number.
All universal waste must be properly managed by trained employees in a way that prevents its release to the environment. Requirements include immediate placement into a structurally sound, closed (except when adding waste) container clearly marked with the type of universal waste it holds and the earliest date waste was placed in the container. A leaking universal waste container must be taken out of service immediately and any released material must be contained, then cleaned up. Some of the requirements specific to the new universal waste categories of paint, paint-related wastes, antifreeze and aerosol containers include:
- Aerosol containers and containers of paint that do not exceed five gallons may be punctured or crushed to remove their contents; however, materials that are removed from aerosol containers, other than paint and air filters, may be hazardous wastes that cannot be managed as universal waste. Also, written approval from the authority with jurisdiction over the local fire code must be obtained if aerosol containers, paint or paint-related wastes that are ignitable or reactive will be stored less than 50 feet from a facility’s property line.
- Antifreeze, paint and paint-related wastes may be reclaimed onsite for certain uses, but any waste that is generated during the reclamation process may be hazardous waste that cannot be managed as universal waste, and paint or paint-related waste cannot be burned for energy recovery.