Ask the Expert, Hazardous and Solid Waste, Q&A

Exclusions to RCRA

Q. Does the addition of a spent material to wastewater treatment qualify for an exclusion to RCRA’s hazardous waste regulation?

A. If your material qualifies as a hazardous waste and because hazardous waste are also solid wastes, your material may qualify for an exclusion under §261.4(a). An exclusion exists for industrial wastewater discharges that are point source discharges subject to 402 of the Clean Water Act (CWA). However, it is important to note that this exclusion does not apply to wastewaters that are being collected, stored or treated before discharge §261.4(a)(2).

Spent materials are generally regulated as solid wastes if they are recycled, burned for energy recovery, reclaimed, or accumulated speculatively (see 40 CFR 261.4(a-d), Table 1). Spent materials will be considered as a “use constituting disposal” if applied to or placed in land in a manner that constitutes disposal. Because the spent materials will be placed in wastewater treatment here, as opposed to the land, the materials do not meet the criteria of a use constituting disposal under 40 CFR §261.4.

You should refer to your NPDES permit for specific discharge information.

The regulations for Hazardous Wastes can be found at 40 CFR §260 et seq.