May 19, 2022

Regulatory Status of Residues from OBSM Reclamation

Oil-bearing secondary materials (OBSM) generated at a petroleum refinery are not solid wastes when reinserted into a petroleum refining process. [§261.4(a)(12)(i)] Similarly, OBSM reclaimed under the transfer-based exclusion at §261.4(a)(24) would not be solid waste. The transfer-based exclusion is one of the definition of solid waste (DSW) exclusions and covers materials transferred from a generator to a separate entity for reclamation. Thus, either approach excludes the OBSM from the definition of solid (and hazardous) waste.

New guidance from EPA states the derived-from rule §261.3(c)(2) does not apply to residues from the reclamation of hazardous secondary materials under the transfer-based exclusion. [RO 14942] The reclamation process results in a new point of generation of a solid waste, and a hazardous waste determination must be made. If the reclamation residues exhibit a hazardous characteristic, or meet a hazardous waste listing, they must be managed as hazardous waste under RCRA.

The guidance specifically addresses whether the F037 petroleum refinery sludge listing in §261.31 would apply to the reclamation residues. The F037 listing covers “[a]ny sludge generated from the gravitational separation of oil/water/solids during the storage or treatment of process wastewaters and oily cooling wastewaters from petroleum refineries.” EPA clarified a reclamation facility processing OBSM under the transfer-based exclusion may generate residues that are “sludges” meeting the F037 listing and, thus, regulated as F037 hazardous wastes if disposed of.


©2022-2024 McCoy and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved.

McCoy and Associates has provided in-depth information to assist environmental professionals with complex compliance issues since 1982. Our seminars and publications are widely trusted by environmental professionals for their consistent quality, clarity, and comprehensiveness.



Considerable care has been exercised in preparing this document; however, McCoy and Associates, Inc. makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee in connection with the publication of this information. McCoy and Associates, Inc. expressly disclaims any liability or responsibility for loss or damage resulting from its use or for the violation of any federal, state, or municipal law or regulation with which this information may conflict. McCoy and Associates, Inc. does not undertake any duty to ensure the continued accuracy of this information.

This document addresses issues of a general nature related to the federal environmental regulations. Persons evaluating specific circumstances dealing with the environmental regulations should review state and local laws and regulations, which may be more stringent than federal requirements. In addition, the assistance of a qualified professional should be enlisted to address any site-specific circumstances.