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Hazardous Waste Handling
Any facility that uses hazardous materials or generates a hazardous waste is required to follow certain procedures when handling those materials of wastes. A good summary of the requirements is provided in the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) guide, Florida's Handbook for Small Quantity Generators of Hazardous Waste .
Below are some important general issues and best management practices for hazardous waste generators. This is not a comprehensive description of the regulations, nor does it include specific permit conditions that may apply to a facility. There are also additional guidelines available based on generator status.
It is the facility's responsibility to comply with Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) worker safety and protective clothing rules; fire codes; Florida's Right to Know Law; Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA); etc.
All hazardous waste must be disposed of via a permitted hazardous waste transporter and taken to a federally approved hazardous waste disposal facility. Receipts of all waste disposals and hazardous waste manifests must be retained for no less than three years, at the generator’s facility and be available for review.
In all situations where the waste is deemed to be hazardous, a permitted hazardous waste transporter must be used to transport the waste to a federally approved hazardous waste treatment or disposal facility. The facility generating the hazardous waste is required to obtain an Environmental Protection Agency identification number unless classified as a conditionally exempt generator, by contacting:
Bureau of Waste Planning and Regulation
Florida Dept. of Environmental Regulation
Two Towers Office Building Room 471
2600 Blair Stone Road
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
If the waste solvents can be recycled by the facility generating the waste, the solvent still-bottoms/sludge from the reclaiming operation must be collected and handled as a hazardous waste, unless proven otherwise.
If the waste solvent is recycled by a permitted solvent recycler, receipts must be obtained from the recycler and copies kept at the facility.
In Miami-Dade County, because of the need to protect our drinking water supply, the groundwater, many of the storage requirements for hazardous wastes, also apply to storing virgin chemicals.
- Chemical storage areas must be on an impervious surface with secondary containment or a bermed and covered area away from drainage structures (e.g. floor drains or storm drains). This containment area should be able to hold 110% of the volume of the largest single tank/drum to be stored in this area.
- In large storage areas, there must be aisle space between storage products. This will enable inspection of the container for leaks and/or corrosion.
- Incompatible chemicals or materials should be stored separately.
- Provide appropriate signs and markings so that the Hazardous Waste Storage Area may be readily identified.
- Label each container with the type of material in it and in the case of wastes, the date that storage began and the words "Hazardous Waste." A proper hazardous waste shipping label must be attached before it is shipped offsite.
- There are specific requirements depending on your generator status to have a written "Preparedness and Prevention Plan" as well as contingency plans and emergency procedures. Make sure your workers know and understand a specific set of procedures to follow in response to a spill or similar accident.
- (Absorbent material shall be kept on site to cleanup any accidental spill. Used absorbent pads must not be disposed of in the trash or dumpster unless a hazardous waste profile indicates otherwise and approval is granted by this department.)
- Waste fluids should be segregated by type and kept separately. This prevents mixing incompatible substances and prevents contamination of a non-hazardous waste by a hazardous waste. This is a good way to reduce disposal costs and often allows each of them to be recycled.
Labeling violations are one of the most common. Make sure the correct label goes on it, before anything goes in it.
A hazardous waste manifest must be kept for any hazardous waste disposal. Receipts/manifests must be kept for a period of three years on site.
Try to keep your receipts organized in a single place so that they are easier to review. They should be readily available any time an inspector shows up.
Rags used during mechanical repairs or cleaning processes which become contaminated with waste oil or hazardous materials such as solvents, ink, etc. are considered hazardous wastes and may be handled by an approved rag service or an approved hazardous waste transporter. Used rags must not be disposed of in the trash/dumpster unless a hazardous waste profile indicates otherwise and approval is granted by this department.
Fluorescent and/or HID lamps
Facilities generating more than 10 spent fluorescent and/or high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps per month must have them recycled. Primarily because of the mercury that they contain, these lamps cannot be disposed off in the regular trash. Spent lamps must be stored in a safe location in order to prevent them from breaking. More information can be obtained from the FDEP Mercury Program.
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