Hazardous and Solid Waste

Used Oil Mixture Rule Got You Mixed Up?

Question: According to the used oil management standards in 40 CFR 279, mixtures of used oil and CESQG hazardous waste regulated under Section 261.5 are subject to regulation as used oil under 40 CFR 279 (40 CFR 279.10(b)(3)). A CESQG generates a hazardous spent solvent (F005) and waste oil that meet the definition of used oil as specified in Section 279.1.

Before shipping the used oil off-site to a used oil collection center, the CESQG mixes the listed F005 waste and used oil together in a container, generating a mixture containing 2,000 ppm total halogens. Since the used oil/F005 mixture originates from a CESQG, would the mixture be subject to the rebuttable presumption under the Part 279 used oil provisions?

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The mixture is subject to the rebuttable presumption, since the rebuttable presumption provisions apply to all used oils containing more than 1,000 ppm of total halogens (with the exception of metalworking oils and used oils destined for reclamation which are contaminated with chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) removed from refrigeration units as specified in Sections 279.10(b)(ii)(A) and (B)).

In this situation, the presumption of mixing can be rebutted by providing convincing documentation to show that the mixture is an excluded CESQG used oil mixture covered under Sections 261.5(j) and 279.10(b)(3). In addition, the rebuttal documentation for this used oil stream should be maintained by subsequent used oil handlers. Rebuttals from each generator of used oil are necessary to rebut the presumption of mixing when used oils from multiple sources are combined and the total halogen concentration of the mixture is greater than 1,000 ppm.

Question: Used oil containing more than 1,000 ppm total halogens is presumed to be mixed with a listed hazardous waste, unless the used oil generator can successfully rebut this presumption (40 CFR 279.10(b)(1)(ii)). In addition, used oil that is burned for energy recovery is determined to be off-specification if it contains more than 4,000 ppm total halogens (40 CFR 279.11). If an automotive service station generates used oil that has a total halogen level of 5,000 ppm (above the specification level), can the generator still rebut the presumption of mixing with a listed hazardous waste?

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Answer: Even if used oil has a halogen content of 5,000 ppm, the generator may still rebut the presumption that the used oil is a hazardous waste because it has been mixed with a listed halogenated hazardous waste. The provision that allows a used oil handler to rebut the presumption of mixing with a listed hazardous waste operates independently of the used oil specification level for total halogens. There is no halogen level over which it is impossible to rebut the presumption of mixing.

If the generator can successfully demonstrate that the used oil was not mixed with a listed hazardous waste, the used oil is regulated as used oil and not as hazardous waste (40 CFR 279.10(b)(1)(ii)). Once the used oil is determined not to have been mixed with a listed hazardous waste, the handler that wishes to burn the used oil for energy recovery would then need to determine if the used oil is on-specification or off-specification in accordance with the criteria set forth at 40 CFR 279.11.

In this case, if the generator can rebut the presumption of mixing, the used oil would be considered off-specification because it exceeds the 4,000 ppm total halogen level. Regardless of the specification of the used oil, however, a handler always has the option of seeking to rebut the presumption of mixing with a listed hazardous waste.

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1 thought on “Used Oil Mixture Rule Got You Mixed Up?”

  1. We make similiar ones each year, but on a sllamer scale; for Hanukkah, instead of those little wax candles that come in a box, we have 9 tiny cups for the menorah. Those, some olive oil, and some floating wicks are all we need for a couple of hours of burning. I never thought about cooking oil acting as a fuel before we switched to those; I’ve thought about making other lamps with olive oil, but never get around to it. We do have a hurricane lamp sitting unused that might work….

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