Aerosol Cans are now a Universal Waste – EPA

On Monday December 9, 2019 EPA published the final rule in the Federal Register adding Aerosol Cans to the Universal Waste Regulations. The rule becomes effective on February 7, 2020 at the federal level.

The rule will affect facilities that currently generate, transport, treat, recycle or dispose of hazardous waste aerosol cans. Back in March 2018 EPA published the proposed rule which received several comments from the regulated community. EPA has addressed those concerns in the final rule.  I am providing information on the small quantity handler here.

What do you need to know as a generator?

EPA has defined Aerosol Can – “a non-refillable receptacle containing a gas compressed, liquefied, or dissolved under pressure, the sole purpose of which is to expel a liquid, paste, or powder and fitted with a self-closing release device allowing the contents to be ejected by the gas.

Aerosol cans as defined in § 273.9 that contain pesticides may be managed as aerosol can universal waste under § 273.13(e) or § 273.33(e).

Universal waste aerosol cans (i.e., each aerosol can), or the container in which the aerosol cans are contained, must be labeled with any of the following phrases:

  • ‘‘Universal Waste—Aerosol Can(s),’’
  •  ‘‘Waste Aerosol Can(s),’’
  • ‘‘Used Aerosol Can(s)’’.

A small quantity handler of universal waste must manage waste aerosol cans in a way that prevents releases of any waste or component of a waste:

(1) Universal waste aerosol cans must be accumulated in a container that is structurally sound, compatible with the contents of the aerosol cans, lacks evidence of leakage, spillage, or damage that could cause leakage, and is protected from sources of heat.

(2) Universal waste aerosol cans that show evidence of leakage must be packaged in a separate closed container or overpacked with absorbents, or immediately punctured and drained.

(3) As each individual aerosol can is not breached and remains intact, a small quantity handler of universal waste may sort aerosol cans by type, mix intact cans in one container, and remove actuators to reduce the risk of accidental release.

If your facility punctures aerosol cans you have the following requirements.

A small quantity handler who punctures and drains their aerosol cans must recycle the empty punctured aerosol cans and meet the following requirements while puncturing and draining:

(i) Conduct puncturing and draining activities using a device specifically designed to safely puncture aerosol cans and effectively contain the residual contents and any emissions.

(ii) Establish and follow a written procedure detailing how to safely puncture and drain the can; maintain a copy of the manufacturer’s specification and instruction on site; and ensure
employees operating the device are trained in the proper procedures.

(iii) Ensure that puncturing of the can is done in a manner designed to prevent fires and to prevent the release of any component of waste to the environment.

(iv) Immediately transfer the contents from the waste aerosol can or puncturing device, if applicable, to a container or tank that meets the applicable requirements of 40 CFR 262.14, 262.15, 262.16, or 262.17.

v) Conduct a hazardous waste determination on the contents of the emptied aerosol can per 40 CFR 262.11. Any hazardous waste generated as a
result of puncturing and draining the aerosol can is subject to all applicable requirements of 40 CFR parts 260 through 272.

(vii) A written procedure must be in place in the event of a spill or leak and a spill clean-up kit must be provided.

Please contact us with any questions about how this might apply to your facility.

EHS Management Strategies, LLC

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