A solid waste is defined to be a hazardous waste under one of two conditions. It’s either specified as a hazardous waste that is already known, or it has the traits necessary to be a hazardous waste. Among different wastes, we have what are known as characteristic wastes. These wastes harbor at least one of these attributes: corrosivity, toxicity, reactivity, and ignitability. Each one of these traits poses its own dangers to people and the environment, and different substances will have a different number of these traits. Being aware of these attributes and which substances likely harbor them makes it much easier to take the right safety precautions when addressing them. We’ll be going over the different traits that characteristic wastes can have, as well as what can make these wastes dangerous.
Certain characteristic wastes are hazardous because they are ignitable. These substances include liquids that have flash points underneath 60 degrees Celsius and non-liquids that can cause fires under certain circumstances. Also, ignitable compressed gases are included in this list, as well as oxidizers. The waste code that represents ignitable hazardous wastes is D001 as assigned by the EPA.
Wastes that are hazardous because of how corrosive they are include materials such as aqueous wastes that have pH levels at or under 2, or 12.5 and above. Other corrosive characteristic wastes get their corrosive trait because they are liquids that have the ability to corrode steel. The waste code used to label corrosive wastes, as assigned by the EPA, is D002.
If a waste has reactive properties, it may be because it won’t be stable in normal environments. Sometimes, these wastes react to water. They could produce toxic gases or even potentially explode under either normal circumstances or with the help of a little heat. The waste code used to label reactive hazardous wastes, as assigned by the EPA, is D003.
There are other types of hazardous wastes that are dangerous because they harbor toxic traits. These substances can be dangerous whenever they are either absorbed or ingested. Something important to note about toxic wastes is that they can potentially leak some of their toxins from the source of the waste into other places. The polluting of groundwater is an especially large concern brought about by toxic, hazardous wastes.
There are multiple waste codes used for toxic, hazardous wastes. Codes all the way from D004 through D043 are used, which each code corresponding to a different waste and that waste’s respective TCLP concentration.
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