Listed Wastes

Listed Wastes in the United States

Listed Wastes in Environmental Law

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulates solid and hazardous wastes from the time they are considered discarded until they are finally disposed of. The focus of the statute is on hazardous waste and petroleum products stored in underground storage tanks.

RCRA recognizes two different categories of hazardous wastes: those that are listed by name and those with characteristics considered hazardous. Three separate lists of hazardous waste have been developed, and any substances included on those lists are considered listed wastes.

A hazardous waste must meet two criteria. First, it must be solid waste, but that term includes contained gases, liquids, and semisolids as well as solids. Next, it must pose a significant danger to human health or the environment. The statute speaks in terms of a solid waste that can cause or significantly contribute to an increase in death or serious irreversible or incapacitating reversible illness. Also, if improper disposal or handling of the waste will cause it to adversely impact health or the environment, it is hazardous. However, the statute itself excludes some types of waste from the solid category, and some from the hazardous category.

To determine which wastes are hazardous, the EPA must look at the quantity, concentration, physical, chemical, and infectious properties of the waste, taking into account its persistence, accumulation in tissue, toxicity, and degradability in nature, along with other hazardous characteristics. The EPA came up with two methods for the waste generator to determine whether a waste is hazardous. If the waste has hazardous characteristics, such as toxicity, ignitability, corrosivity, or reactivity, it must be handled as a hazardous waste. If the EPA has listed it on one of three lists, based on its own evaluation of the substance’s characteristics, it automatically falls under the hazardous waste regulations unless it is delisted by the agency. See also characteristic waste.

Over 400 wastes have been placed on the lists. The first list consists of wastes from nonspecific sources; the second covers specified sources; and the third includes commercial chemical products that have been discarded. Each waste has a hazardous waste number. The designation for wastes on the first list is an F before the number F wastes. These wastes include spent solvents, wastewater sludges, and wastes from production of certain acutely hazardous chemicals, regardless of their origin. Specific source hazardous wastes are K wastes. This list encompasses wastes from wood preservation processes, petroleum refining, ink formulation, and production of pesticides, explosives, and organic or inorganic chemicals, among many others. The third list deals with chemical wastes discarded in nearly pure form.

The prefixes are either P for acutely hazardous wastes P wastes or U for toxic wastes U wastes. Typically, these wastes result from spills during processing, the containers that hold the chemicals, the product itself, or off specification products.

Once a waste is listed as hazardous, the only way to remove it from the numerous requirements for its management and disposal is to have it delisted by filing a petition with the EPA. In it, the party requesting delisting must demonstrate that the substance does not meet the criteria for which it was listed and that it is not hazardous under other criteria. The public must be notified of the petition and allowed to comment. The EPA must grant or deny the petition within 24 months after it is deemed complete by the agency. If it is granted, the delisting applies only to the waste from the particular facility where the testing proved it is nonhazardous.
Based on “Environment and the Law. A Dictionary”.

Listed Wastes: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Listed Wastes. This part provides references, in relation to Listed Wastes, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Listed Wastes by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Listed Wastes and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Listed Wastes or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Listed Wastes and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Listed Wastes. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Listed Wastes should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Listed Wastes when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

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