Where Does Hazardous Waste Go? Explore The Different Types of Waste Disposal
November 24, 2020

It is critical to your employee’s safety and the environment to properly dispose of your hazardous waste. Hazardous wastes are any waste materials that are able to present a health concern to humans or your community. It can come in various forms and is created from a variety of different sources, including industrial projects, factories, laboratories, and human activities.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has created concise protocols that are to be followed to minimize the amount of hazardous waste generated. This agency also has strict guidelines and rules to follow in properly disposing of these wastes to ensure humans and the environment are not compromised. These are some of the acceptable methods used in disposing of hazardous waste materials.


A lot of companies and laboratories have made significant progress in reducing or recycling hazardous wastes from their operations. However, still, more than two hundred million tons are generated each year. Businesses such as dry cleaners, hospitals, chemical manufacturers, and others up to a few years ago sent their hazardous waste to landfills. These wastes resulted in high amounts of those dangerous materials seeping into nearby water sources and the ground.

Today, hazardous wastes are being destroyed in an incinerator. The incineration process reduces the amount of waste materials and can generate energy through the gases it releases. Incineration has become a widespread and common technology being used in disposing of dangerous waste materials. The EPA has determined, incineration is BDAT (Best Demonstrated Available Technology.)

When incineration is properly done, it eliminates toxic constituents in dangerous materials and reduces its volume. The combustors used in incineration are regulated under the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Act. The Clean Air Act protects the environment and human health from harmful air pollution.


Landfills are engineered sites used for non-liquid hazardous wastes. These waste materials are disposed of in these areas and then covered. These areas are designed to reduce the chance of hazardous materials being released into the environment as much as possible. The design for landfills must include:
– Removal systems and double leachate collection
– Double liners
– Systems that will detect leaks
– Wind dispersal controls as well as controls for run-offs and run-ons
– Quality construction

Those operating landfills have to comply with the monitoring, release response requirements, and inspections. These landfills are permanent sites for disposal and, when closed, are subject to post-closure and closure care requirements that include:
– Installation of a final cover that is continuously maintained
– Continued operation of the leachate collection
– Removal system until leachate is no longer detected
– Leak detection system must be monitored and maintained
– Ground water monitoring must be maintained
– Prevention of run-off and run-on groundwaters
– Installation of surveyed benchmarks

Wastewater Treatment

One of the most rapidly developing areas for environmental engineering is the treatment and disposal of wastewater. Managing wastewater is strictly regulated by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), and the RCRA (Resource Conservation Recovery Act) as well as your state and local codes.

Knowing the type of hazardous waste being disposed of allows an engineer to understand the means of pre-treating that is necessary before disposing of it into the public sewer. An old method was to treat wastewater with dilution. The EPA now specifically prohibits dilution for pre-treating hazardous wastewater.

The pre-treatment used must treat the wastewater until it is at an acceptable level of discharge into a public sewer. The EPA has published acceptable levels of contaminants allowed before this discharge, and your wastewater must be at or below their acceptable levels.

Land Treatment

Land treatment of hazardous waste is an alternative waste disposal method when toxic materials are incorporated into ground surface layers. This form of treatment provides safe, effective, and acceptable management of hazardous wastes. Congress developed restrictions for land disposal as part of the HSWA (Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments) under the RCRA.
These amendments prohibit land disposal of untreated hazardous materials, and the EPA has specific concentration levels or methods of treatment for hazardous wastes. These specifications’ primary goal is to protect the environment and human health from the dangers presented from hazardous waste disposal, treatment, transportation, storage, and generation.

Boilers/Industrial Furnace

Industrial furnaces or boilers are a class of furnaces or boilers that burn hazardous wastes. These wastes are burned mainly for energy or material recovery. The treatment of waste materials through incineration is a secondary benefit. Boilers typically combust the waste materials for energy recovery, and the furnaces burn the waste for both material recovery and energy.

The EPA has created extensive requirements for boilers/industrial furnaces (BIFs) as far as emission controls and the permits required for operation. The RCRA treats BIFs as hazardous waste treatment, disposal, and storage facility. These facilities are required to obtain appropriate permits to operate.

Fuel Blending

One of the more productive means of handling hazardous wastes is to blend them into fuel. This process mitigates any damage to the environment as it recycles the waste materials into fuel. This process reduces fossil-fuel consumption, but operators face the task of efficiently blending the hazardous waste into fuel while at the same time maintaining environmental regulatory requirements.

Environmental Marketing Services offers you the opportunity to develop innovative and cost-effective solutions for your waste disposal needs. We will help your facility minimize liabilities as you protect your employees’ health and safety and protect the environment. Our one-stop waste management team will ensure you are compliant with all state, federal, and local requirements and help you go green to save on costs.

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