Quantcast Definition of Hazardous Waste

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speaking, any solid waste mixed in with hazardous wastes is considered a
hazardous waste.  Therefore, solid wastes must be kept segregated from hazardous
wastes.  The following information is based on regulations that are still
changing.  The expectation is that more stringent requirements will be enforced
in the future.  The discussion in this section is intended only to make readers
aware of the complexities of handling hazardous materials.  This document is not
meant to be official military guidance in handling such wastes.
Definition of Hazardous Wastes.  In accordance with Section
1004(5) of RCRA (PL 94-580), the term "hazardous waste" means a solid waste or
combination of solid wastes, which because of its quantity, concentration, or
physical, chemical, or infectious characteristics may: (1) cause, or
significantly contribute to, an increase in mortality or an increase in serious
irreversible, or incapacitating reversible, illness; or (2) pose a substantial
present or potential hazard to human health or the environment when improperly
treated, stored, transported, or disposed of, or otherwise managed.
Hazardous Wastes Identification
The criteria for identifying hazardous wastes are as follows:
Waste can be analyzed to determine its characteristics using standard
test methods, which can be done either in-house or contracted out to
certified laboratories.
Wastes can be reasonably identified as hazardous by the generator
through familiarity with the waste streams.  Hazardous Wastes Characteristics.  The four common
characteristics of hazardous wastes are listed below:
Ignitability - wastes that could catch fire during normal handling.
Dangers from such fires not only include heat and smoke but also the
spread of particles detrimental to health over wide areas.
Corrosivity - wastes that attack standard materials, thereby requiring
special type of containers.  These wastes must be segregated because
they could dissolve toxic contaminants from other wastes.
Reactivity (explosiveness) - wastes that may react spontaneously and
vigorously with water and air during normal handling.  These wastes
are unstable to shock or heat, and may explode and generate toxic
Toxicity - wastes containing toxicants which, if released in
sufficient quantities, pose substantial hazard to human health or the
Test procedures to determine the above characteristics are described in 40 CFR
261, Subpart C.


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