When Used Oil Is Regulated as a Hazardous Waste

Used oil often contains halogens, many of which are listed hazardous wastes. The presence of halogens in the used oil is typically the result of mixing with chlorinated solvents.

The EPA has determined:

  • Used oil containing 1,000 parts per million (ppm) or less total halogens is not considered hazardous waste
  • Used oil containing 4,000 ppm total halogens is a hazardous waste subject to regulation1
  • Used oil containing total halogen concentrations between 1,000 ppm and 4,000 ppm is presumed mixed with a halogenated hazardous waste. In these cases, the EPA allows the used oil handler to rebut the presumption of mixing (called the "rebuttable presumption"), by demonstrating that the used oil has not been mixed with a listed halogenated hazardous waste. The demonstration may be made by testing the used oil with an analytical method from SWS-846, Edition III, such as EPA Method 8021, or by applying knowledge of the halogen content of the used oil in light of the materials and processes used | View EPA Hazardous Waste Test Methods >

When Used Oil is Regulated as a Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) Waste?

Although Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs) have been banned for most applications, they are still occasionally encountered. PCBs are regulated under the federal regulations for the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA).2 Regulation of used oil containing PCB:

  • Concentrations of less than the quantifiable level of 2 ppm is not regulated as a TSCA waste, but rather as used oil under 40 CFR 279.
  • Concentrations of 2 ppm or more, but less than 50 ppm, TSCA requires the used oil to be handled in the same manner as off-specification used oil. However, if the used oil is to be burned, the PCBs must be completely destroyed.
  • Concentrations of 50 ppm or more is regulated as a TSCA waste.