Let’s say you have a waste that is hazardous solely because it exhibits the corrosivity characteristic (a D002 characteristic waste), you can neutralize it chemically in a tank or container prior to discharging it through a permit under the Clean Water Act. This is known as the Elementary Neutralization Unit Exemption.
This exemption will not apply if your waste also exhibits other hazardous characteristics (such as ignitability, toxicity or reactivity) or if it is a listed hazardous waste. Under this exemption, the unit (tank or container) where the neutralization occurs is exempt from RCRA standards. However, any sludge that comes out of this process is not exempt. If the sludge exhibits any hazardous characteristic, it will need to be managed as hazardous waste under RCRA.
Another point top remember is that if you have a separate container that is holding your D002 waste waiting to be neutralized, that container is NOT a treatment unit.neutra
Under this Federal exemption, you will not need to obtain a CRA Part B permit in order to treat your hazardous waste. Note that not all states have adopted this exemption. So always check with your state agencies.
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In California, the state legislature’s SB1158 – enacted several years ago – addressed the issue of on-site treatment of aerosol spray cans. The state law re-classified non-empty aerosol cans as universal wastes if they are to be recycled. It allows waste generators to use state certified equipment to puncture spray cans and recover their contents without having to obtain an on-site treatment permit.
The provisions of SB 1158 were codified in the California Health and safety Code HSC 25201.16. Under this code, the users of such equipment must notify their CUPA (Certified Unified Program Agency) in person or in writing prior to “processing” their non-empty cans. They must also have documented proof that they have trained their employees on how to properly operate such equipment. There are also labeling and storage requirements for the cans and disposal requirements for the recovered contents.
DTSC has produced a fact sheet that addresses all of the regulatory requirements stated above.
Always check with your state agencies. Many states have more stringent requirements.