The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has standards for the storage of hazardous waste drums. These standards are part of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulating hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal (TSD) facilities. Proper hazardous waste drum storage is an important, integral part of the overall tracking system used by generators, treaters, storers, transporters and disposers of hazardous wastes.
Hazardous waste drums must always be closed unless adding or removing waste. Drums must be handled in a manner that prevents leakage, deterioration or release of hazardous waste. Ignitable and reactive waste drums must be stored at least 50 feet (15 meters) from the property line of the business. Containers should be properly labeled and free of rust and corrosion. Drums should not be stacked more than two tiers high. There must be sufficient aisle space between rows of drums to allow easy passage between rows of drums.
Marking and Labeling
All drums must have a label with the words “Hazardous Waste.” This label must contain an accumulation start date. Drums must be properly labeled under U. S. Department of Transportation (DOT) standards for shipment. Containers also must have appropriate markings and descriptions to meet the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Hazard Communication (Hazcom) standards.
Waste is collected at the point of generation. Each container used for satellite accumulation must be labeled as a hazardous waste. Each container must be under the control of the person working at the generating point. No more than a total of 55 gallons can be accumulated in the satellite accumulation area. If 55 gallons of hazardous waste is accumulated, the accumulation start date must be added to all accumulation containers or to the drum used to consolidate the waste generated at each satellite site.
Hazardous waste drum storage areas must be inspected at least once each week. Findings of the inspection should be entered into a log. The log should indicate the inspector’s name, the date and time of inspection, any findings, and all corrective actions taken. Records should be retained for at least three years. Inspections should include a review of drum condition, an inspection of labels and an observation of any leakage that is present.
Leak and Spill Containment
Secondary containment must be used if hazardous waste greater than 55 gallons is accumulated. The secondary containment must be able to contain the greater amount of either 10% of the total volume of waste or 100% of the largest container in storage. Only compatible wastes should be stored in a secondary containment area.
Read More: OSHA Spill Containment Requirements
Charles Calmbacher has been writing and editing publications for 44 years. He has written for the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution," "Occupational Health and Safety" magazine, "Environmental Protection" magazine, "Fine Woodworking" magazine and other publications. Calmbacher holds a doctorate in biology from Fordham University and is a certified industrial hygienist.