EPA Modifies Regulations on Solvent Wipe

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has modified the hazardous waste management regulations governing the use of solvent contaminated wipes. Here’s what you need to know in three short quick facts:

  • Solvent-contaminated wipes can be excluded from hazardous waste regulations provided that facilities clean or dispose of them properly.
  • To be excluded, solvent-contaminated wipes must be managed in closed, labeled containers and cannot contain free liquids when sent for cleaning or disposal.
  • Facilities that generate solvent-contaminated wipes must comply with certain record-keeping requirements and may not accumulate wipes for longer than 180 days.

EPA released a pre-publication version of the long awaited Solvent-Contaminated Wipes rule to conditionally exclude solvent-contaminated wipes from hazardous waste regulations provided that businesses clean or dispose of them properly. The rule is based on the EPAs final peer reviewed risk analysis that concluded that wipes contaminated with certain hazardous solvents do not pose significant risk to human health and the environment when managed properly.

The rule excludes wipes that are contaminated with solvents listed as hazardous wastes under RCRA that are cleaned or disposed of properly. To be excluded, solvent-contaminated wipes must be managed in closed, labeled containers and cannot contain free liquids when sent for cleaning or disposal. Additionally, facilities that generate solvent-contaminated wipes must comply with certain record-keeping requirements and may not accumulate wipes for longer than 180 days.

The EPA has determined that the wipes, which are used in conjunction with solvents for cleaning and other purposes, are used by tens of thousands of facilities in numerous industrial sectors. The rule is expected to ease the regulatory burden and reduce costs for industries such as commercial printing, automobile repair shops, as well as manufacturers of automobiles, electronics, furniture, and chemicals.

The docket for this rule-making is EPA-HQ-RCRA-2003-0004 and can be accessed at www.regulations.gov once the final rule is published. For more information about this rule-making, go to www.epa.gov/epawaste/hazard/wastetypes/wasteid/solvents/wipes.htm.

EHS Support can help your company prepare a comprehensive waste management plan for solvent contaminated wipes and other waste. Please contact our EHS Support Compliance Expert, Kate Gibson at kate.gibson@ehs-support.com or (732) 598-3293.

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