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Hazardous Waste Management



A hazardous waste, in short, is any waste or combination of wastes that poses a substantial danger, now or in the future, to human, plant, or animal life, and which therefore cannot be handled or disposed of without special precautions. A more complete and specific definition has been published by the U.S. EPA. There are two ways a waste material is found to be hazardous: 1)by its presence on the EPA-developed lists, or 1)by EPA2)by evidence that the waste exhibits ignitable, corrosive, 2)by reactive, or toxic characteristics.

EPAs Hazardous Waste Designation System The list of hazardous wastes includes
spent halogenated and non-halogenated solvents; electroplating baths; wastewater treatment sludges from many individual production processes; and heavy ends, light ends, bottom tars, and side-cuts from various distillation processes.

Some commercial chemical products are also listed as being hazardous wastes when discarded including
acutely hazardous wastes such as arsenic acid, cyanides, and many pesticides, as well as toxic wastes such as benzene, toluene, urethane, and phenols.

EPA has designated five categories considered as hazardous:



Specific type of wastes from nonspecific sources: halogenated & non-halogenated solvents electro-plating sludges and cyanide solutions from plating batches Specific types of wastes from specific sources; oven residue from production of chrome oxide green segments brine purification muds from the mercury cell process in chlorine production

3. Specific substances identified as acute hazardous waste: potassium silver cyanide, toxaphene arsenic oxide. 4. Specific substances identified as hazardous wastes: xylene DDT carbon tetrachloride 5. Characteristic wastes: Wastes not specifically identified elsewhere exhibiting properties of ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, or toxicity.

A solid waste is said to exhibit the characteristic of ignitability if ignitability a representative sample of the waste has any of the following properties:

1. It is a liquid, other than an aqueous solution containing less than 24 percent alcohol by volume, and has a flash point less than 60C. 2. It is not a liquid and is capable, under standard temperature and pressure, of causing fire through friction, absorption of moisture, or spontaneous chemical changes; and, when ignited, burns so vigorously and persistently that it creates a hazard. 3. It is an ignitable, compressed gas. 4. It is an oxidizer

A solid waste is said to exhibit the characteristic of corrosivity if a representative sample of the waste has either of the following properties:
1. It is aqueous and has a pH less than or equal to 2 or greater than or equal to 12.5. 2. It is a liquid that corrodes steel at a rate greater than 6.35 mm per year at a test temperature of 55C.

A solid waste is said to exhibit the characteristic of reactivity if a representative sample of the waste has any of the following properties: 1. It is normally unstable and readily undergoes violent change without detonating. 2. It reacts violently with water. 3. It forms potentially explosive mixtures with water. 4. When mixed with water, it generates toxic gases, vapors, or fumes in a quantity sufficient to present a danger to human health or the environment.
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5. It is a cyanide or sulfide-bearing waste that, when exposed to pH between 2 and 12.5, can generate toxic gases, vapors, or fumes in a quantity sufficient to present a danger to human health or the environment. 6. It is capable of detonation or explosive reaction if it is subjected to a strong initiating source or if heated under confinement. 7. It is readily capable of detonation or explosive decomposition or reaction at standard temperature and pressure. 8. It is a forbidden explosive, as defined in Department of Transportation regulations.

A solid waste is said to exhibit the characteristic of extraction procedure (EP) toxicity if, using the test methods described in Appendix II of the Federal Register (55 FR 11863 and 55 FR 26986), the extract from a representative sample of the waste contains any of the contaminants listed in Table 9-1 at a concentration equal to or greater than the respective value given in the table.


A logical priority in managing hazardous waste would be to: 1. Reduce the amount of hazardous wastes generated in the first place. 2. Stimulate waste exchange. (One factorys hazardous wastes can become anothers feedstock; for instance, acid and solvent wastes from some industries can be utilized by others without processing.) 3. Recycle metals, the energy content, and other useful resources contained in hazardous wastes. 4. Detoxify and neutralize liquid hazardous waste streams by chemical and biological treatment.

5. Reduce the volume of waste sludges generated in number four, above, by dewatering. 6. Destroy combustible hazardous wastes in special hightemperature incinerators equipped with proper pollution control and monitoring systems. 7. Stabilize/solidify sludges and ash from numbers five and six to reduce leach- ability of metals. 8. Dispose of remaining treated residues in specially designed landfills.

Chemical Treatment
It is important to remember that a chemical procedure cannot magically make a toxic chemical disappear from the matrix (wastewater, sludge, etc.) in which it is found, but can only convert it to another form. Thus, it is vital to ensure that the products of a chemical detoxification step are less of a problem than is the starting material. It is equally important to remember that the reagents for such a reaction can be hazardous. The spectrum of chemical methods includes: complexation Neutralization Oxidation and reduction Precipitation

Stabilization/Solidification Because of their elemental composition, some wastes, such as nickel, cannot be destroyed or changed by physical or chemical means. Thus, once they have been separated from aqueous solution and concentrated in ash or sludge, the hazardous constituents must be bound up in stable compounds that meet the land ban restrictions for leachability.

Deep Well Injection: Pumping wastes into geologically secure formations. Pumping of wastes into these formations has been practiced primarily in Louisiana and Texas. In promulgating the final third of the land ban restrictions,31 the EPA allowed disposal in Class I injection wells for wastes disposed under clean water act regulations. Landfill: A secure landfill means that no leachate or other contaminant can escape from the fill and cause adverse impacts on the surface water or groundwater. Leakage from the site is not acceptable during or after operations. Wastes must not be allowed to migrate from the site. (see Figure 9.12)