EPA Reduces Regulatory Burden for Industrial Facilities Using Solvent Wipes

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On July 23, 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it was modifying the hazardous waste management regulations under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to conditionally exclude solvent-contaminated wipes, provided that businesses clean or dispose of them properly. The rule is based on EPA's final risk analysis that concluded wipes contaminated with certain hazardous solvents do not pose significant risk to human health and the environment when managed properly.

Wipes are used in conjunction with solvents for cleaning and other purposes at facilities in numerous industrial sectors, such as printers, automobile repair shops and manufacturers of automobiles, electronics, furniture and chemicals.

To be excluded, solvent-contaminated wipes must be managed in closed, labeled containers and cannot contain free liquids when sent for cleaning or disposal. Additionally, facilities that generate solvent-contaminated wipes must comply with certain recordkeeping requirements and may not accumulate wipes for longer than 180 days. For EPA's summary of the rule see: Summary Chart.