EPA GUIDANCE FOR DEMOLITION HAZ AND NON HAZ WASTE
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If you are involved with building construction, demolition, or renovation, your company creates
construction and demolition (C&D) debris. These materials can consist of three types of waste:
(1) Inert or nonhazardous waste; (2) hazardous waste as regulated by the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA); and (3) items
that contain hazardous components that might be regulated by some states.
Most C&D debris is nonhazardous and is not regulated by EPA. Under RCRA, however, if you
generate hazardous waste you are required to follow certain procedures when generating, storing, transporting, or disposing of it. In addition, many states have specific definitions of C&D debris that effectively determine what materials are allowed to be disposed of in nonhazardous waste landfills, C&D landfills, or incinerators. Even if federal or state regulations do not apply to your business, you should make efforts to keep the hazardous components of the wastes you generate out of landfills to conserve natural resources and protect human health and the environment. Follow the suggestions outlined in this issue for ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle your waste.
C&D debris is one type of solid waste. It is a large and varied waste stream that includes
concrete, asphalt, wood, gypsum, and asphalt shingles generated from the construction,
renovation, and demolition of buildings, roads, bridges, and dams. Total C&D waste was estimated to be 325 million tons in 2003. C&D debris is not federally regulated, except to the extent that solid waste landfills must follow a few basic standards outlined in the Federal Registerat 40 CFR Part 257. States, therefore, have the primary role in defining and regulating the management of C&D debris. Depending on your state’s specific definition, C&D debris can include the following discarded materials:
■ Concrete, cinder blocks, drywall (sheetrock, gypsum, or plaster), masonry, asphalt and
wood shingles, slate, and plaster.
■ Forming and framing lumber, plywood, wood laminates, wood scraps, and pallets.
■ Steel, stainless steel, pipes, rebar, flashing, aluminum, copper, and brass, residential and
commercial steel framing, structural steel, steel utility poles.
■ Brick and decorative blocks. ■ Siding. ■ Doors and windows. ■ Plumbing fixtures. ■ Electrical wiring. ■ Non-asbestos insulation. ■ Wood, sawdust, brush, trees, stumps, earth, fill, and rock and granular materials.
Many states exclude certain materials from the legal definition of C&D debris, using terms
such as “hazardous,” “unacceptable,” “potentially toxic,” or “illegal”. These wastes might or
might not meet the federal definition of hazardous waste (see page 5). Those that do meet
the legal definition of hazardous waste are required to be treated and/or disposed of in a manner consistent with the federal or state requirements for hazardous waste. Examples of
these wastes can include:
■ Waste paints, varnish, solvents, sealers, thinners, resins, roofing cement, adhesives,
machinery lubricants, and caulk. ■ Drums and containers that once contained
the items listed above. ■ Treated wood, including lumber, posts, ties, or decks, and utility poles.
■ Asbestos-containing items, such as certain older types of floor tile, insulation, or other
materials containing asbestos. (Regulated by the Toxic Substances Control Act [TSCA-see
page 18]) ■ Lead-based paint, or lead flashing or solder. ■ Products containing mercury.
■ Other items that have inseparable hazardous
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