Each year, hundreds of businesses are fined for violations concerning the way they store hazardous waste. Most of us don’t hear about these violations as the news media gravitates towards hazardous waste spills that are major in impact and result in multi-million dollar fines. To protect your company from these fines, that are costly for small and medium-sized businesses, you begin by obtaining the proper storage containers for the waste produced and transported by your company.
Step 1 – Choosing the Right Kind of Container
Inventory your waste before choosing a hazardous waste container. Storing incompatible or reactive wastes in combination is prohibited by law. Each reactive waste must be stored in a separate container to prevent reactions that can cause a toxic cloud, a fire, or an explosion.
It is also important to be sure that your hazardous waste doesn’t react with the storage container. Because some wastes are highly corrosive they can react with a metal container causing a leak that lets the waste flow out. Plastic and plastic lined containers are great options for corrosive wastes. When storing non-corrosive and flammable liquids, steel drums are a great solution.
All containers for hazardous waste need a tight leak-proof screw-on cap that prevents spills if the container tips over.
Choose containers that are sized properly. It is inefficient to dispose of a few milliliters of waste in a four-liter container.
Step 2 – Labeling Hazardous Waste Containers
Before you start using a hazardous waste container attach a completed hazardous waste tag. Cross out any other labels on the container, taking care not to eradicate the original product label on the drum so that its original use is known to waste handling staff.
The labels must identify the waste as hazardous and include the date collected.
Step 3 – Time in Storage and Quantity Limits
Hazardous waste must be removed from your internal storage site within 90 days of collection. Your company can store up to 55 gallons of waste. When a container reaches 55 gallons of collected waste you have 3 days to have it picked up.