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What are Hazardous Waste Containers?

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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 28 August 2016
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The handling of hazardous waste tends to be strictly regulated. Some of those regulations pertain to the use of hazardous waste containers. These are special receptacles used to collect, store, treat, and transport the matter. Hazardous waste container regulations are often determined at the federal, state, and institutional levels.

All hazardous waste containers are not the same size. Some larger receptacles are referred to as satellite containers. These are often placed in close proximity to a hazardous waste source and used for repetitive accumulation. When they are full, they may be moved to the hazardous waste storage area. The date they reached their capacity should be written on them.

Smaller hazardous waste containers, such as safety cans or top drums, may not be allowed to be kept in a work area. Requirements often dictate that these receptacles must be kept in a storage area whether or not they are full. Some regulations outline maximum container sizes. The date that accumulation began is also often required to be displayed on the receptacle. There is generally a limit as to how long full containers can be kept.

The materials used to make hazardous waste containers can vary. For example, some may be made of steel while others are made of heavy lined plastics. One reason for this is that hazardous waste can be a range of liquids, solids, or gases. All storage materials may not be suitable for every type of waste.

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Even when suitable receptacles are used, there are often further regulations that dictate where the containers may be kept. Such regulations may include the type of surfaces the receptacles can rest on and the types of areas they may be contained in. Those regulations may also dictate where on a property the receptacles can be kept.

Hazardous waste containers must often be moved from one place to another. In many cases, the site that accumulates the waste is not the entity that will permanently store or treat it. It is commonly stressed that before shipment occurs, the containers be sealed.

It is also commonly required that these receptacles must be marked with the words “hazardous waste.” They must generally have labels that identify the type of waste they contain or the properties of that waste, such as explosive or corrosive. Most hazardous waste container regulations forbid the containers from being open at any time other than when they are being used.

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