Handling Special Waste: 5 Tips for Alabama Manufacturers and Businesses

Names can be deceiving. Everyone knows that hazardous waste is, well, hazardous and that it needs to be handled very, very carefully. Special waste, on the other hand, doesn’t sound quite so intimidating, does it? While special waste is a little different that hazardous waste, businesses, developers and manufacturers still need to proceed with caution to ensure the health and safety of their employees and their communities. Even “non-hazardous” waste can be harmful.

Special waste can come from a variety of sources including excavation, renovation, remediation, mining, automotive manufacturing, and industrial manufacturing byproducts.

Billions of tons of industrial solid waste is generated in the United States each year. Non-hazardous special waste includes regulated materials such as wastewater sludge, industrial sludge, asbestos, antifreeze, holding tanks, contaminated soils, grinding dusts, and waste water. If not properly disposed of, these dangerous materials can cause serious health problems and irreversible air and water pollution.

Tip #1: Know Thy Special Waste

The first and most critical tip for an Alabama manufacturer is to assess all the waste generated by your facility. Determining the type of waste you have is where it all begins. Before you can develop a safe long-term disposal plan, you absolutely need to know what kind waste that you’re dealing with, how much you’re producing, and what its physical and chemical properties are. You may be able to find this information in material safety data sheets, chemical engineering plans, or through a waste management analyses.

Once you’ve considered how the waste was produced and processed, and just how much you’re dealing with, you’re ready to move on to the next step in the disposal process.

It’s time to scientifically test the waste. Once you have determined the type and amount of non-hazardous waste that you have, you can implement a safe and reliable waste management plan and contact a waste management services company that specializes in the efficient and effective removal of non-hazardous special waste.

Top Tip #2: Get to Know ADEM and the EPA

Whatever you do, stay on ADEM’s good side. They mean business and we think they say it best:

“The Land Division administers several of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management’s Waste Management and Remediation Programs pursuant to the authorities granted by the provisions of the Alabama Environmental Management Act, Ala. Code §§22-22A-1 to 22-22A-16 and various other Acts. The Land Division has primary jurisdiction over disposal of solid and hazardous waste within the State and with the remediation of contaminated sites. Major programs within the Land Division include Hazardous Waste, Solid Waste, Remediation, Scrap Tire, and Brownfields/Voluntary Cleanup…The Solid Waste Program is administered within Land Division by the WPB for solid waste landfill permitting, compliance inspections and enforcement and corrective action. WPB also inspects illegal solid waste disposal sites and investigates complaints regarding solid waste disposal. Enforcement action is taken as necessary to assure proper disposal of all solid waste in Alabama.”

It’s also a smart move to familiarize yourself with EPA’s guidelines on special waste and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

Tip #3: Remember that You’re Liable

Looking the other way doesn’t work when it comes to special waste! You are liable and responsible for your waste from generation to treatment to disposal. Make sure that you’re working with reputable testing facilities, remediation experts, and experienced special waste hauling professionals.

Tip #4: Dot Your i’s and Cross Your t’s

In other words, pay attention to the details. When it comes to special waste, it’s important to make sure your paperwork is in order. Be sure to maintain thorough records and have proof that your waste has been properly disposed of. If you’re ever audited, you’ll thank us for the tip!

Tip #5: Leave Non-Hazardous Special Waste Disposal to the Professionals

Again, just because it’s not hazardous doesn’t mean it’s not special! Contact local waste management providers and ask about their experience with hauling special waste and how they can help make sure your waste is responsibly disposed of. Don’t be afraid to ask a provider for recommendations from previous clients and be sure to look for a company who carries a complete inventory of clean and well-maintained specialized dumpster equipment. Make sure their staff members are professional and courteous and that their drivers know exactly what they’re dealing with.

To learn more about special waste and how to safely dispose of materials such as asbestos, contaminated soils, empty chemical tanks and containers, sludge water, exploration waste, food waste, and automotive shredder residue, download our eBook, “Special Waste Services: What You Need to Know.”

To speak with a special waste disposal expert, give us a call at 256-721-8727 or contact PBS Services online. We can help with all your special waste hauling needs.

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