Are there liabilities in how I dispose of hazardous waste for my business?
Yes. There are three legal ways to get rid of a hazardous waste. It can be recycled, incinerated, or placed in a hazardous waste dump. We recommend recycling whenever possible. It is usually the cheapest method, and often results in no residual liabilities at all.

The second method is incineration via a facility licensed for the incineration of that type of hazardous waste. If through the incineration process the hazardous waste is completely destroyed with no hazardous residual, your liability is completely eliminated. If there is a hazardous residual product, that product generally has to be stored in a hazardous waste dump, but the quantity remaining is normally far less than the original amount of hazardous waste with which you started.

The third method is placement in a hazardous waste dump. While this method generally costs only about ½ the cost of incineration, it includes with it some long-term liabilities you may not be aware of. Federal law requires that, when a hazardous waste dump becomes full, the dump must close and be cleaned up (made non-hazardous). Toward that end, every hazardous waste dump operator is required to place a $1 million bond with the Federal Government to help pay for the clean-up. However, most hazardous waste dumps cost more than $50 million to clean up to EPA's standards. Where does this money come from, especially if the dump operator files bankruptcy? Under court rulings, this money comes from everyone who put hazardous wastes in that dump. Furthermore, under the doctrine of Joint and Several Liability, if some of those people have gone out of business or don't have the ability to pay, everyone else who put hazardous wastes in the dump and do have the ability to pay have to pick up the costs of those who can't pay. This liability can be substantially avoided by having your hazardous wastes either recycled or incinerated. However, if you do have to put wastes in a hazardous waste dump, it is highly recommended that you put all such wastes into the same dump, so you don't end up buying liability for several hazardous waste dumps. Note that hazardous waste transporters will suggest hazardous waste dumps for you to use, but the final decision as to where your hazardous wastes will go is up to you. Choose wisely. For more information on the legal issues involved, it is suggested you consult with an attorney specializing in environmental law.

Show All Answers

1. What is a hazardous material?
2. Who regulates the use of hazardous materials in my business?
3. What is a hazardous waste?
4. Who regulates the storage and disposal of hazardous wastes at my business?
5. Are there liabilities in how I dispose of hazardous waste for my business?
6. How do I get rid of household hazardous waste?
7. How do I get rid of hazardous waste from a business?
8. How do I get rid of left-over paint?
9. How do I get rid of waste oil?