Maine Department of Environmental Protection
Policy for Solvent Contaminated Wipers
Since 2005, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has had a written policy on the management of solvent-contaminated wipers. Following a review of the policy, available data, policies of other states, the need to protect the environment and the DEP’s goals of pollution prevention, DEP believes the 2010 policy should be updated and revised. DEP has concluded that allowing a conditional exemption from regulation as a hazardous waste, under Maine's Identification of Hazardous Wastes rule, 06-096 CMR 850.3(C) (as amended July 20, 2004), for non-saturated, solvent-contaminated industrial wipers that are managed according to the best management practices described in this policy, and any other applicable requirement for storage and transport of such materials, reduces any potential risks to human health and the environment. Further, the intent of this policy is to fully utilize the guiding principles of the pollution prevention hierarchy including waste minimization.
Wipers that are a Hazardous Waste and Wipers Subject to this Policy
This policy applies to wipers1 that are contaminated with a solvent constituent that is a listed hazardous waste solvent (F001 through F005) which must be regulated as a listed hazardous waste when disposed under EPA and DEP rules. (Note that when solvents are applied to a wiper, the solvent (before use) is not a listed waste, and therefore disposing or treating the wipe under these circumstances would not be a listed hazardous waste, as stated by EPA interpretation.) That situation is contrasted with a practice where the wiper is used to wipe up a spent or spilled solvent that is a listed hazardous waste; those wipers then become a listed hazardous waste, and are subject to this policy.
This policy does not apply to wipers that are hazardous waste because they display a characteristic of hazardous waste.
Wipers must be non-saturated
DEP requires wipers meet the “one drop” criterion for determining saturation. This determination shall be made by either wringing the wipers out by hand or some other mechanical compaction method using proper personal protective equipment and procedures for handling flammable materials. For the purposes of this policy, neither hand "wringing" nor any "mechanical compaction method" applied to solvent-contaminated wipers constitutes treatment of a hazardous waste. As long as one drop of solvent flows from a wiper when subjected to this test, the wiper is saturated and therefore a hazardous waste; hand wringing/mechanical compaction may be repeated until the wiper passes the one-drop criterion. Intentional air-drying of saturated wipers to achieve the one-drop criterion is not allowable. If a person collects drained or wrung solvent, and reuses the solvent for solvent purposes without further treatment, the solvent for such reuse is not deemed a hazardous waste.
Users of this policy that choose an industrial launderer to clean their non-saturated wipes must ensure the launderer discharges to a Publicly Owned Treatment Work (POTW) with an approved pretreatment program as defined by Maine’s Pretreatment Program rules, 06-096 CMR 528. Businesses that launder on-site must discharge under an MPDES permit that specifically recognizes the operation of the non-saturated wipers laundering operation.
Sludge generated from laundering of non-saturated wipers shall not be deemed hazardous waste solely because of the contained-in/derived from policy.
DEP requires that solvent-contaminated wipers that are saturated must be managed as a hazardous waste, under Maine's Identification of Hazardous Wastes rule, 06-096 CMR 850.3(C) (as amended July 20, 2004).
Any materials, including wipers, used to clean up a solvent spill or hazardous waste of any kind or used in a manner other than for its original purpose must be managed as a hazardous waste.
DEP encourages businesses to explore all pollution prevention options to further reduce their use of solvents. Options for facilities to consider include physical methods to clean including but not limited to brushing, vacuuming, and dry wiping; use of alternative non-hazardous chemicals including steam or water, and alternative non-F-listed chemicals. The DEP’s Office of Innovation & Assistance (207-287-7881) will readily provide technical assistance regarding pollution prevention options.
This interim policy will be utilized by DEP until it is revised; DEP expects to revise the policy or adopt regulations in accord with any final rule or formal policy of the federal Environmental Protection Agency on solvent-contaminated wipers.
Approved for implementation beginning this 24th day of March 2011
_Darryl N. Brown [signature]
Darryl N. Brown
Maine Department of Environmental Protection
1 Wipers as covered under this policy also include shop towels, rags, and disposable wipers used in commercial and industrial settings, and other non-saturated textiles (e.g., uniforms, floor mats).