EPA Finalizes Solvent-Contaminated Industrial Wipes Rule


Source: SOCMA
Related Topics: EPA Enforcement Actions on Industry Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA) US Environmental Protection Agency

Yesterday, EPA unveiled the pre-published version of the Solvent-Contaminated Industrial Wipes final rule.

This rule “revises the definition of solid waste to conditionally exclude solvent-contaminated wipes that are cleaned and reused and revises the definition of hazardous waste to conditionally exclude solvent-contaminated wipes that are disposed.” To be excluded, EPA notes that the solvent-contaminated wipes “…must be managed in closed, labeled containers and cannot contain free liquids when sent for cleaning or disposal. Additionally, facilities that generate solvent-contaminated wipes must comply with certain recordkeeping requirements and may not accumulate wipes for longer than 180 days.”

The Agency noted that the rule was “based on EPA’s final risk analysis, which was peer reviewed in 2008 and published for public comment in 2009, that concluded wipes contaminated with certain hazardous solvents do not pose significant risk to human health and the environment when managed properly.” (The initial rulemaking effort began in the 1980s when industry petitioned for such an exclusion.) EPA also projects that the final rule will save industry between $21.7 million and $27.8 million annually. EPA explains that those savings include “$18.0 million per year in avoided regulatory costs and between $3.7 million and $9.9 million per year in other expected benefits, including: (1) pollution prevention and waste minimization benefits, (2) fire safety benefits, and (3) potential benefits to industrial laundries and dry cleaners from removal of the "waste" label for solvent-contaminated reusable wipes.”

EPA notes that it finalized the conditional exclusions “largely as [they were] proposed in November 2003, with some revisions.” These revisions are detailed in the Wipes Rule FAQ sheet.

That FAQ sheet, and additional information about the final rule, can be found at:

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