ENFORCEMENT OF HAZARDOUS WASTE DISPOSAL REGULATIONS: Reportedly, local inspectors (Environmental Compliance Officers) have gone into dumpsters at auto service facilities to determine the occurrence of illegal waste disposal. They have cited heavy fines for violations when hazardous waste and universal waste are found in the dumpster. Alameda and Santa Clara counties sued an auto dealership chain and recently obtained a settlement of $3.38 million. See link.
TO MIX OR NOT TO MIX – OLD RULE
SEPARATION OF PAPER & METAL: In 2016, California EPA started to enforce hazardous waste regulations regarding used oil filters. While crushed metal oil filters could be recycled as scrap metal, paper cartridge filters and metal oil filters (with free flowing used oil upon puncture) were to be disposed of as hazardous waste. Dealers started to separate the two types of oil filters and dispose of them as two different streams.
BACKGROUND: Used oil filters may exhibit hazardous characteristics and are hence, classified as hazardous waste in California. To encourage recycling of used oil filters, California DTSC adopted reduced handling requirements for drained used oil filters that are sent for recycling as scrap metal. We wrote about that in July 2016 stating that you should drain the filter properly. Now the DTSC (Cal/EPA) has started to classify all used oil filters, with a flapper valve that prevents oil from being drained out, as hazardous waste.
Background: Since July 1992, regulations promulgated under the CAA require that motor vehicle air conditioning refrigerant be recycled. Last week, auto dealers in San Francisco area were penalized for violations arising under this act. We must note that these CAA regulations are federal regulations and are applicable to all auto dealers in the US and not to San Francisco dealers alone. To achieve compliance under this regulation, dealers must act as follows:
- Clean Air Act Section 609 Technician Certification Program: All employees working on A/C systems must be trained and tested by a program approved by EPA on how to properly recover and recycle refrigerant (such as Freon 12, HFC-134(a) or any other approved by EPA approved refrigerant).
- Clean Air Act Section 609 Approved Equipment: Must utilize EPA approved recycling equipment and mail a completed USEPA Refrigerant or Recycling Device Acquisition Certification Form to EPA.
On February 8, 2006, regulations that require recycling of mercury containing fluorescent lamps, batteries, (non-automotive type) and other mercury containing materials will be prohibited from disposal as ordinary trash and required to be recycled. Some of the Universal Wastes that require recycling is as follows:
- Fluorescent Lamps
- Mercury Containing Switches, Novelties & other products
- Batteries (non-automotive kind)
- Non-Empty Aerosols
- Cathode Ray Tube
This is probably the best-kept secret: dealers can get money from the State! First, look at your new oil (or ATF, gear oil) bill. You will see a $0.16 fee for every gallon of oil purchased. You can get this fee back. All you have you do is become a Used Oil Recycling Center. Believe me, there are hundreds of them in L.A. County, so jump on the smart money bandwagon. Dealers, depending upon their oil use, have been getting up to four to five thousand dollars annually. Also, as a business helping to keep the environment clean adds a big plus to your image in the community.
There are a few acts of omission or commission by the management that can get them to jail, i.e., the act is considered criminal in nature. Consider the case where a hoist in the shop is “jumping” (mal-functioning). The technician walks into the office of the Service Manager and informs that the hoist is not working and needs immediate repair. The Service Manager is busy in his every day chores and burdened with mounting expenses for the month, delays the repair of the hoist to the next month. Two weeks later, a car falls off the mal-functioning hoist and the operator employee is killed.