PCB Wastes

A Summary of Regulatory Requirements

Title V of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act (Act) establishes statutory requirements to ensure that solid waste will be handled in a safe and responsible manner. The requirements found in the Act and the Board's regulations are intended to reduce the occupational and environmental health risks that occur during storage, treatment, transport, transfer and disposal of solid waste.

The information presented in this fact sheet does not eliminate any person's responsibility to fulfill any legal obligation under the Act or regulations promulgated thereunder.

The purpose of this fact sheet is to provide some of the solid waste requirements, found in both the Act and the Board's regulations. For the complete requirements, please see Title V of the Act and 35 Illinois Administrative Code (IAC): Subtitle G.

For additional information on solid waste regulations in Illinois, please contact the Disposal Alternatives Unit at the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency; Bureau of Land; 1021 North Grand Avenue East; P.O. Box 19276; Springfield, Illinois 62794-9276; (217) 524-3300.

How are PCB wastes regulated?

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)-containing transformers are considered a special waste until they have been drained and rinsed. If the concentration of PCBs in the dielectric fluid removed from the transformer is greater than 50 ppm, then the transformer must be disposed of as a Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) waste unless it is drained and rinsed. The USEPA retains authority over the handling and disposal of TSCA wastes and should be contacted at 312/886-7061. If the transformers have been drained and rinsed, the transformers (carcass) may be disposed of in a municipal landfill or sent for salvage as scrap metal. In this case, the drained oil and rinsate are regulated under TSCA.

PCB-containing ballasts (non-leaking) do not meet the definition of a special waste but are considered a municipal solid waste unless the generator is a manufacturer of PCB capacitors. Leaking PCB-containing ballasts are handled in the same manner as transformers as a special waste.

White goods, which includes all discarded refrigerators, ranges, water heaters, freezers, air conditioners, humidifiers and other similar domestic and commercial large appliances, were banned from disposal after July 1, 1994 unless certain white good components have been removed. White good components include: any chlorofluorocarbon refrigerant gas; any electrical switch containing mercury; and any device that contains or may contain PCBs in a closed system, such as dielectric fluid for a capacitor, ballast, or other component. PCB-containing white good components should be handled as discussed above. Other white good components should be recycled when possible. No person may accept PCB-containing wastes for storage, treatment or disposal without a current, valid operating permit. Accordingly:

  1. PCB-containing wastes that are special or TSCA wastes must go to an appropriately permitted facility.
  2. PCB-containing wastes that are municipal solid wastes may be placed with the regular garbage and accepted by your municipal waste landfill. USEPA suggests incineration or disposal in a hazardous landfill for non-leaking PCB-containing ballasts.
  3. White goods that have their white good components removed may be sent offsite as scrap metal or disposed of in a properly permitted municipal waste landfill. Some landfills may be unwilling to accept white goods so you should check with your local landfill.

The generator should ask the appropriately permitted facility (i.e., special waste or TSCA waste landfill or treatment facility) for the permit number which authorizes the facility to accept the waste.

Used oil containing less than 2ppm PCBs is not regulated under TSCA and may be marketed in accordance with the requirements of 35 Ill. Adm. Code 739.

Used oil containing 2ppm or more PCBs must be sent to a qualified incinerator as defined in 40 CFR 761.3.

Who can transport these wastes?

A person hauling or transporting any special wastes within Illinois must have a current, valid waste hauling permit issued by the IEPA.

Exemption:

A person transporting only conditionally exempt small quantity generator waste (one who generates 220 pounds or less of special waste in a calendar month) is exempt from the waste hauling permit requirement.

Do I have to manifest my wastes?

A manifest must be completed before offering a special or TSCA waste to a permitted waste hauler.

Exemptions:

A generator who generates 220 pounds or less of special waste in a calendar month is exempt from the manifest requirement.

In all instances, the generator must insure that his/her wastes go to a properly permitted facility for storage, treatment, transfer or disposal. The generator should ask the waste hauler who transports his/her wastes for their special waste hauling permit number and should obtain from the facility where the waste is being taken, their permit number and facility ID number.

Do I have to submit an annual report?

A handler of TSCA waste (wastes with a PCB concentration greater than 50 ppm) must submit appropriate reports to USEPA Region V.