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.

 


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This document addresses issues of a general nature related to the federal RCRA regulations. Persons evaluating specific circumstances dealing with the RCRA 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.