Neutralization of Wastes: What you need to know

Governing Law and Regulations

Definition of hazardous waste treatment: 42 USC 6903(34) and 40 CFR 260.10

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Advantages of neutralizing wastes: 40 CFR 261.5(c)(2), 40 CFR 264.1(g)(6) and 40 CFR 265.1(c)(10)

Elementary neutralization units (ENUs):

What are ENUs?: 40 CFR 260.10

Permit exemption: 40 CFR 270.1(c)(2)(v)

Regulatory Agencies

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

See ADDRESSES & CONTACTS for addresses and telephone numbers.

Neutralization of Wastes Overview

Liquid solutions that exhibit the hazardous characteristic of corrosivity are a common type of hazardous waste that many industries generate. These corrosive wastes could be many things, including industrial cleansers, the by-products of chemical reactions, spent catalysts, or sludges from wastewater treatment systems. Neutralization is a chemical process used on corrosive hazardous waste to reduce the level of a waste's corrosivity. The neutralization procedure involves adjusting the pH level of the corrosive waste (with no other hazardous characteristics) to a pH between 5.5 and 9.5. The purpose is to alter the corrosive characteristic of the waste so that it no longer is hazardous and can be disposed of or treated as nonhazardous.

Neutralization is a form of "treatment" under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and the federal hazardous waste regulations (42 USC 6903(34) and 40 CFR 260.10). "Treatment" is defined as "any method, technique, or process, including neutralization, designed to change the physical, chemical, or biological character or composition of any hazardous waste so as to neutralize such waste or so as to render such waste nonhazardous, safer for transport, amenable ...

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State Requirements

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