July 10, 2017

Compacting Filters Meets the Definition of “Treatment”

EPA was asked whether compacting and baling of hazardous waste air flow filters in a totally enclosed canister would be considered “treatment” subject to the hazardous waste regulations, in particular permitting, if the purpose of the process was to prepare the filters for offsite disposal. [RO 14890]

The regulations define “treatment” as follows:

Treatment means any method, technique, or process, including neutralization, designed to change the physical, chemical, or biological character or composition of any hazardous waste so as to neutralize such waste, or so as to recover energy or material resources from the waste, or so as to render such waste non-hazardous, or less hazardous; safer to transport, store, or dispose of; or amenable for recovery, amenable for storage, or reduced in volume.” [§260.10]

Both the questioner and agency noted that the definition of “treatment” consists of two parts: 1) designed to change a waste’s character or composition, and 2) done for one of the specified purposes. In this case, the compacting and baling process is designed to change the waste’s physical characteristics so as to reduce the volume. Thus, it meets both parts of the definition.

In regards to permitting, the agency reiterated its long-held position that generators may treat hazardous wastes (other than thermal treatment) in 90/180-day accumulation units without a permit. Hence, if the totally enclosed canister is operated as a 90/180-day container, the facility would not require a permit for the unit. Keep in mind that state regulations may be more stringent.


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