The Universal Waste regulations of the USEPA (40 CFR 273) identify the following as potential hazardous wastes that may be managed as a Universal Waste:
- Mercury-containing devices
- Recalled or cancelled pesticides
As authorized under Subchapter G of Part 273, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has successfully petitioned the USEPA to add the category of Paint and Paint-Related Waste (PPRW) to the four Federal Universal Waste already recognized in Texas. The regulations explaining TCEQ’s Universal Waste Rule may be found at 30 TAC 335.261 & 335.262.
Other than the addition of PPRW as a Universal Waste, the requirements for management of Universal Waste in Texas are very similar to the Federal Universal Waste Rule; as a matter of fact the USEPA regulations are cited throughout the Texas Universal Waste Rule. We’ll save a review of the benefits of management of a waste as a Universal Waste and the requirements of compliance for later in this article. First we’ll look at the most important and unique aspect of Texas’ Universal Waste Rule: It’s identification of Paint and Paint Related Waste that is eligible to be managed as a Universal Waste.
What waste may be managed as a Paint and Paint Related Waste Universal Waste in Texas?
A PPRW that may be managed as a Universal Waste is defined at 30 TAC 335.262(b):
Paint and paint-related waste is used or unused paint and paint-related material which is “hazardous waste” as defined under §335.1 of this title (relating to Definitions), as determined under §335.504 of this title (relating to Hazardous Waste Determination), and which is any mixture of pigment and a suitable liquid which forms a closely adherent coating when spread on a surface or any material which results from painting activities.
According to the definition then, a PPRW eligible to be managed as a Universal Waste:
- May be either used or unused.
- Must meet the definition of a hazardous waste. That is it must be a listed hazardous waste or exhibit a characteristic of a hazardous waste according to the state regulations which are exactly the same as the Federal regulations on this point.
- Includes any mixture of a pigment and suitable liquid to form a closely adherent coating.
- Includes any material which results from painting activities. This last point allows for the inclusion of a lot of wastes not normally thought of as paint related waste, read on.
Acoording to a TCEQ guidance document: Managing Paint and Paint-Related Waste Under the Universal Waste Rule (RG-370) the following PPRW qualify for handling as a Universal Waste:
- Used or unused paint;
- Spent solvents used in painting (for example, combinations of thinner and paint, lacquer, or varnish);
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), contaminated rags, gloves, and debris resulting from painting operations;
- Coating waste paint, overspray, overrun paints, paint filters, paint booth stripping materials, paint sludges from water-wash curtains;
- Cleanup residues from spills of paint (this excludes cleanup residues from a spill of PPRW being managed as UW);
- Cleanup residues from painting and paint-removal activities; and
- Other paint-related wastes generated as a result of the removal of paint.
And finally, from the Annual TCEQ Environmental Trade Fair and Conference, a PPRW managed as a Universal Waste may include:
- Paint in aerosol cans.
- Sand blast media, or;
- Hydrochloric acid from a metal surface preparation process, if either waste is generated as part of a painting operation.
You may be beginning to get the idea that the definition of a PPRW that may be managed as a Universal Waste in Texas is quite broad, and you’re right. If you have a PPRW you think might meet the definition of a Universal Waste but don’t see it listed here, contact the TCEQ for an opinion.
Why manage a waste as a Universal Waste? Benefits to management as a Universal Waste include:
- One year of on-site accumulation, and longer if necessary and approval is granted by the TCEQ.
- Waste does not count toward your hazardous waste generator status.
- Off-site transportation does not require a Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest. However, states that don’t recognize PPRW as a Universal Waste (all of them except perhaps Pennsylvania) will require a manifest.
- Notification to the TCEQ and inclusion on your Notice of Registration (NOR) is not required for a Small Quantity Handler of Universal Waste. It is recommended for a Large Quantity Handler (more on this in Requirements).
- Transportation of any Universal Waste does not require a registered transporter. However, USDOT regulations for the transportation of a hazardous material will still apply.
- It is not required to be reported on the state Annual Waste Summary Form and is exempt from state end-of-year fees.
Requirements for management as a Universal Waste:
The regulations for management of Universal Waste differ in some respects depending on the amount of Universal Waste you accumulate on-site at one time (your Universal Waste Handler Status). The categories of Universal Waste Handler are distinct from your status as a generator of hazardous waste and are as follows:
- Small-Quantity Handler of Universal Waste: Does not accumulate >5,000 kg of all Universal Waste on-site at one time.
- Large-Quantity Handler of Universal Waste: Accumulates >5,000 kg of all Universal Waste on-site at one time.
If the LQH threshold is exceeded, then you will remain a LQH for the remainder of the calendar year. Some of the regulatory requirements for management of Universal Waste apply equally to both an SQG or and LQH (List 1), whereas some differ based on your Handler status (Table 1).
List 1: Requirements and Restrictions for both Handler Status:
- All UW must eventually be transported off-site to another handler, a transfer facility, or a destination facility.
- Must take steps to prevent spills or releases.
- Must immediately contain and clean-up spills.
- Spills of any Universal Waste are subject to a hazardous waste determination and cannot be managed as a Universal Waste. However, a spill of paint and paint-related material may be managed as a Universal Waste. I know it doesn’t make sense, but that’s the way it is.
- The following requirements specific to Universal Waste PPRW are found at 30 TAC 335.262(c)(2):
- It is subject to the TCEQ General Prohibitions @ 30 TAC 335.4.
- A container, transport vehicle, or vessel used for storage must be kept closed except when adding or removing waste.
- A container, transport vehicle, or vessel must be structurally sound, compatible with waste, and lack evidence of leakage. If a container does not meet these requirements it must be overpacked.
- If a tank is used for containment it must meet the USEPA requirements at 40 CFR §§ 265.197(c), 265.200, and 265.201.
- A container, multiple container package unit, tank, transport vehicle, or vessel must be labeled “Universal Waste – Paint and Paint-Related Wastes”
- If PPRW is reactive, ignitable, or incompatible must comply with applicable USEPA regulations @ §§ 265.17, 265.1767, and 265.177.
Table 1: Requirements and Restrictions for SQH v. LQH:
Small Quantity Handler
Large Quantity Handler
“Inform” employees how to handle UW. Must include the correct response to a spill or release of UW.
Employees must be “thoroughly familiar” with how to handle the UW at their facility. Must include the correct response to a spill or release of UW.
|USEPA ID Number||
Required unless site already has one
|Register waste with TCEQ for inclusion on Notice of Registration (NOR)||
Not required, but advised to by TCEQ.
|Track and record off-site shipments||
|8-Digit Texas Waste Code||
Registration of waste with TCEQ (see above) will require creation of the 8-Digit Texas Waste Code.
The option to manage a Paint or Paint-Related Waste as a Universal Waste instead of as a Hazardous Waste is of significant benefit to waste generators in Texas. Be sure to take advantage of this option if it is available to you. State-specific regulations can be a challenge, that’s why I hold Public Training Seminars around the country. I’ll be in Austin, TX on August 27th for a full day of training to meet the requirements of both the USEPA and the TCEQ. I hope to see you there!