What is the difference between hazardous materials, contamination, problem waste and hazardous/dangerous waste?
Being confused about the terminology is understandable. The term “hazardous materials” is a blanket term to include everything from contained substances, contaminated soil, underground storage tanks, dangerous waste and more. As a construction agency, we simplify the terminology to apply the term (and the regulation) as it relates to waste disposal or reuse. For example,
Contamination (also called problem waste) is media (soil, sediment or water) that has some level of toxic substances not normally found in the environment. Disposal or reuse requirements are dependent on site specifics, but generally contamination above Ecology’s MTCA Cleanup Levels (WAC 173-340) requires special handling and disposal.
Hazardous/Dangerous waste (WAC 173-303) would typically be more harmful that “contamination” and also requires special handling, a RCRA Site ID#, a lot more paperwork and can only be disposed at a RCRA permitted Subtitle C facility. The closest Subtitle D facility is in Arlington, Oregon. Transportation projects typically only generate Dangerous Waste on bridge projects with lead based paint. Otherwise projects with contamination will usually be required to sample media (e.g., TCLP test) to prove it is not a “Dangerous Waste” before a permitted landfill or recycling facility will accept the waste.
This is an over simplified casual description of the terms as they typically apply to transportation projects. Formal definitions, corresponding regulations and a nifty graphic for hazardous material terminology is provided in Chapter 447 of the Environmental Procedures Manual (EPM). Formal guidance for managing hazardous materials during construction is provided in Chapter 620 of the EPM.
What Standard Specifications, General Special Provisions, and Special Provisions apply to Hazardous Materials in WSDOT Construction Projects?
Applicable Standard Specifications Sections:
- Section 1-07.4 - Health Hazards
- Section 1-07.5 - Environmental Regulations
- Section 1-07.15 - Temporary Water Pollution/Erosion Control
- Section 1-07.15(1) - Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasures Plans
- Section 5-01.3(11) - Concrete Slurry
- Section 6-07.3(2) - Repainting Existing Steel Structures
- Section 8-01 - Erosion Control and Water Pollution Control
- Section 9-03 - Recycled Material in Aggregates
- Section 9-14.5(3) - Clear Plastic Sheeting
Applicable General Special Provisions and Amendments:
- Removal and Disposal of Hazardous Material
- 02033.FR2 (August 1, 2005)
- 02041.GR2 (December 4, 2006)
- 0205A1.GR2 (December 4, 2006)
- Asbestos Handling and Removal
- 02013.FR2 (March 13, 1995)
- 020342.GR2 (September 30, 1996)
- 020511.GR2 (September 30, 1996)
- Asbestos Handling and Disposal
- 02015.GR2 (September 30, 1996)
- 020341.GR2 (September 30, 1996)
- 020514.GR2 (September 30, 1996)
- Lead Health Protection Program
- 07012.FR1 (January 5, 2004)
- Treatment of pH for Concrete Work
- 0103A.GR8 (April 3, 2006)
Special Provisions are written for project specific circumstances.
What happens if there is a spill on a construction site?
All WSDOT construction projects have a Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures (SPCC) Plan as per Standard Specification 1-07.15(1), which is developed by the contractor and approved by WSDOT prior to the start of construction. In the event of a spill, the contractor follows the spill response and notification procedures outlined in the SPCC Plan. Depending on the situation, the WSDOT Project Engineer may initiate the Environmental Compliance Assurance Procedure (ECAP) which is outlined in Section 1-2.2K(1) of the Construction Manual M41-01. Additional information is available on the WSDOT Spill Prevention web page.
What happens if there is a spill from the traveling public?
The cleanup of spills by the traveling public is regulated under CERCLA Section 9607(b). The Washington State Patrol (WSP) and Ecology must be immediately notified.
If the spill from the traveling public occurs within a WSDOT construction project, WSDOT personnel are responsible to immediately notify WSP and Ecology to report the spill and if possible, identify the responsible party. If the spill is an immediate threat to human health or the environment (e.g., tank truck leaking into a water body), WSDOT personnel should take action to contain the spill until Ecology or the WSP arrive on the scene. Cleanup costs may be recovered at a later date if and when the responsible party is identified.
Who do I contact for questions about the transportation of Hazardous/Dangerous Waste?
The Federal USDOT regulates the transportation of hazardous materials. The Washington State Patrol's Commercial Vehicle Division is the agency who issues permits and licenses and enforces the Federal Transportation regulations for transportation within Washington State. The phone number for the Commercial Vehicle Division is 360-753-0350.
For Federal USDOT inter-state transit information (transportation from state to state), call Motor Carrier Services at 800-467-4922. Additional information can be found at the following links:
Who obatins a RCRA Site ID Number for Dangerous Waste?
A RCRA Site ID Number is required when there is a potential to generate more than 220 pounds of non-acute dangerous/hazardous waste. Sampling determines whether a waste is characterized as Dangerous Waste, per WAC 173-303. For WSDOT projects, Dangerous Waste is typically generated during bridge painting or removal work. Although rare, a project may also generate Dangerous Waste by excavating contaminated soils.
WSDOT obtains the RCRA Site ID number when Dangerous Waste may be generated on a project site. The WSDOT PE coordinates with a WSDOT Hazardous Materials Specialist to obtain the RCRA Site ID number and to ensure that sampling is representative, the proper documentation and tracking is completed, the annual report is filed before March 1st, and the Site ID number is closed.
The following links provide regulations and guidance information.