After more than a decade of debate, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy signed a final federal waste management rule for solvent-contaminated industrial wipes that was published in the Federal Register on July 31, 2013 (78 Fed. Reg. 46448). The final rule states that industrial wipes contaminated with solvents that are listed hazardous waste or that may exhibit one or more characteristics of hazardous waste may be conditionally excluded from regulation as a hazardous waste. The wipes must not contain any free liquids as determined by the Paint Filter Liquids Test (EPA Methods Test 9095B).
Solvent-contaminated industrial wipes that are sent (either on-site or off-site) for cleaning or reuse are excluded from the definition of solid waste. While the wipes are not considered solid waste, any solvents recovered from the cleaning or reclamation would have to be managed as a waste depending on whether it is a listed hazardous waste or exhibits one or more characteristics of hazardous waste.
Those wipes that are sent for disposal are excluded from the definition of hazardous waste and may be disposed in a municipal solid waste landfill. The wipes may be accumulated on the site of the generator for up to 180 days in a closed container before being sent for cleaning, reuse or disposal.
The final rule represents a common-sense approach for managing solvent-contaminated industrial wipes and becomes effective on Jan. 31, 2014. If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Jeff Hannapel at firstname.lastname@example.org.