Likely you’ve heard mention of a hazardous waste sample “passing/failing paint filter”, but what exactly is paint filter and what role does it play in a hazardous waste determination? Paint filter is the US EPA approved test method (EPA 9095B) to determine the presence of free liquids in a representative sample of waste. It is referenced in the regulations pertaining to hazardous waste landfills (40 CFR 264.314 & 40 CFR 265.314) since free liquids are forbidden from landfill disposal, unless exempted. The paint filter test method is also used to identify the presence of free liquids in the determination of the hazardous characteristics of Ignitability (D001) and Corrosivity (D002).
How the method works is pretty simple: A pre-determined amount of material is placed in a paint filter. If any portion of the sample passes through and drops from the filter in a five (5) minute period, then the material is deemed to contain free liquids. That’s it. No fancy lab equipment is required, the paint filter is a standard conical paint filter [60 +/- 5% (fine meshed size)] available at local paint stores like Sherwin-Williams or Glidden.
Simple, and yet very important. The presence of free liquids indicated by the paint filter test may affect your hazardous waste generator status and whether or not your hazardous waste can go to landfill for disposal. If misunderstood, it could lead to violations and fines. If understood and used properly it is a useful tool to assist you in maintaining your compliance with the regulations. My training is a way for you to expand your understanding and knowledge of the regulations that affect your business.