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HazMat and Hazardous Waste at the Hotel

HazMat and Hazardous Waste at the Hotel

HazMat and Hazardous Waste at the Hotel

I spend a lot of time in hotels when I travel in order to provide the training required for businesses subject to the Hazardous Material Regulations of the PHMSA/USDOT and those subject to the hazardous waste regulations (codified from RCRA) of the USEPA.  And sometimes elements of those two activities (the regulations and my lodging accommodations) come together.

A hotel, like most businesses, requires some form of hazardous materials in order to provide a service or create a product.  In the case of a hotel these may include chemicals for cleaning its rooms or maintaining its pool.

Clean pool at Best Western Mission Bay

Clean pool = HazMat Transportation


In order to have these hazardous materials on-site the hotel must arrange to have them delivered and that, according to 49 CFR 171.1, makes them subject to the HMR:

Hotel cleaning chemicals are hazardous materials

Clean hotel = HazMat transportation

In addition, the law authorizes the Secretary to apply these regulations to persons who cause hazardous materials to be transported in commerce.

Does it matter that the amounts are small?  No.  Unless subject to one of the exceptions of 49 CFR 173 – and the amounts pictured here are not small enough to qualify for those exceptions – then all of the requirements of the HMR apply.  Including…wait for it…HazMat Employee training.

What about the waste generated by a hotel, is it subject to the hazardous waste regulations of the USEPA, and states with an authorized hazardous waste program?  The answer there is more complicated.

HazMat for pool maintenance

Supply of hazardous materials used to service the hotel’s pool.

Pool cleaning chemical - Calcium Hypochlorite Hydrated

UN2880, Calcium Hypochlorite Hydrated – used for pool cleaning

UN1789, Hydrochloric Acid Solution

Hydrochloric acid solution – used to clean the pool

First of all, the regulations codified by the USEPA from the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) apply to all waste generated by a business, home, or government agency.  However, hotels are subject to a conditional exclusion from hazardous waste regulations for the routine waste they generate in servicing their customers.  It’s know as the Household Hazardous Waste Exclusion and is found at 40 CFR 261.4(a)(1).

The situation is further complicated because this hotel is located in California.  The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) within the Cal EPA does not recognize the Federal Household Hazardous Waste Exclusion, so this hotel goes back to square one as a generator of hazardous waste.

Thanks to this conditional exclusion, a hotel that generates a waste during its normal activities is not required by Federal regulations to manage it as a hazardous waste.  A state, like California, may choose to make its regulations more strict and more broad than those of the USEPA and therefore make a business like a hotel subject to its State RCRA regulations.

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The reach of the regulations, both those of the PHMSA/USDOT and those of the USEPA (and your State), go further than many first think.  Contact me if you have questions about the transportation of hazardous materials or the disposal of hazardous waste at your hotel.