Environmental waste transportation can have a huge impact on the health of people and the environment. Along with the health benefits, waste transportation services help ensure companies follow government regulations for waste disposal. To stay in compliance and develop a cost-effective waste development solution, many businesses choose to work with ERC of USA. We know how to handle, transport, and dispose of your business's waste.
Environmental waste is an umbrella term for a variety of forms of waste, from bulk liquids, containerized wastes, construction and demolition debris, packaged waste, used oil and hazardous waste. Environmental waste transportation is the movement of these forms of waste to appropriate sites.
Generally, transportation involves the use of tankers, trains, barges, trucks and other vehicles. The type and size of the load will often determine which manner of transportation is used.
The Need for Waste Transportation
Companies need to remove waste, especially hazardous waste, from their facilities and make sure that it doesn’t represent a danger to people. Even if it’s not hazardous, waste takes up space and is unsightly. Many companies do not have a waste disposal facility on site that can handle all of the waste they produce, so they need to hire a company that can handle its transport and disposal.
Secure waste transportation is essential, as improper transportation can pollute areas along the route to the next facility and be dangerous to human health. If accidents occur during the transportation of hazardous waste, the environmental and health consequences can be severe.
Traffic collisions are a common cause of waste spills and the release of pollutants into the air, soil or water. Another time when waste is frequently accidentally released is during the loading and unloading process that takes place at the beginning and end of the transportation process.
If your company contributes to the approximately 4 billion tons of hazardous materials being shipped each year in the United States, you need to ensure you transport your waste responsibly. Doing so will help ensure you don’t run into legal issues and will minimize any potential negative environmental or human health impacts. You’ll need to be knowledgeable of the waste transportation industry and select a company that can transport your waste safely and efficiently.
The Facts of Waste Transportation
As you decide how you want to dispose of your waste, you should be as informed as possible. Below is some of the most important information that you should know about waste transportation.
Differences Between Hazardous and Non-Hazardous Material
When a company produces waste, they are supposed to classify it as either hazardous or non-hazardous, so that people know how to dispose of it. The following section lays out the differences between hazardous and non-hazardous waste:
Waste that is classified as non-hazardous is material that doesn’t pose a threat to people’s health or the environment. Examples of this waste include garbage, sludge and refuse that come from a variety of sectors and industries like construction, mining, agricultural, municipal and industrial.
Generally, this waste comes in a liquid, semi-solid or solid state. Typically, the waste comes from the byproducts of the manufacturing process along with commercial products themselves.
One primary form of non-hazardous waste is residual waste. The materials that are classified as residual come in many different forms, such as gases, liquids or solids. Typically, mining, agricultural and industrial activities produce them. This waste is so common that in Pennsylvania alone, each year, organizations generate over 20 million tons of solid residual waste. On top of the solid waste, even more is produced in liquid or semi-liquid forms.
As there is so much waste produced, companies often need residual waste haulers to begin the disposal process. Companies should also be aware that though residual waste is not classified as hazardous, some of the products included in that category can still cause great harm if disposed of improperly. To make sure the disposal process is done right, many companies employ residual waste transportation services to handle it for them.
As you might have guessed from the definition of non-hazardous waste, hazardous waste does pose a threat to the health and safety of the environment and other people.
The EPA has assigned different kinds of waste to lists to classify them:
F-list: Waste on the F-list are wastes that come from typical industrial or manufacturing processes. Because a variety of industries generate this type of waste, it is referred to as non-specific source waste.
K-list: Unlike the F-list, K-list waste comes from specific industries, such as pesticide manufacturing and petroleum refining. This type of waste has a liquid quality to it and typically comes in the forms of sludge or wastewater. Because it’s clear which industry these wastes come from, they are referred to as source-specific wastes.
P-list and U-list: These lists describe commercial chemical products that have been discarded in an unused form.
2. Characterized Waste
Along with the materials found on the above lists, there a number of other types of waste that need to be classified. Other materials can be considered as hazardous if they have the following characteristics:
Ignitable: The material can catch or create fire in particular conditions, has a flashpoint that’s less than 140 degrees Fahrenheit and has the potential to spontaneously combust.
Corrosive: Waste with this quality will have bases or acids that can corrode drums, metal tanks or other waste containers. To check this, you’ll want to see if the waste has a pH that is less than or equal to two or if it has one that is greater than or equal to 12.5.
Reactive: This kind of waste will be unstable even in normal conditions. Their instability can produce vapors, toxic fumes, gases and explosions when they are mixed with water, compressed or heated.
Toxic: These materials will be harmful, even lethal, to people or the environment if absorbed. It’s important to be aware of how to properly dispose of toxic materials, as they can absorb into the ground and eventually reach groundwater, contaminating it and harming water supplies.
3. Universal Waste
Materials classified as universal waste are materials that are commonly used by the general public but are still hazardous. This type of waste includes batteries, lamps and equipment containing mercury and pesticides.
4. Mixed Waste
Mixed waste is defined as waste that has both hazardous and radioactive components. This waste is usually commercially generated and is common in industries like nuclear, pharmaceutical and medical.
The newest player on the hazardous material scene is e-waste. This kind of waste is sometimes referred to as electronic or electrical waste and has been proliferating as people become more reliant on tech. Typical e-waste includes old phones, computers, TVs, fridges, coffee makers, toasters, printers and other similar products. As these devices are made up of a variety of components, there’s a higher chance they contain hazardous material.
How Is Hazardous Waste Transported?
Hazardous waste is transported from one site to another via highway, rail, air or water. Typically, this transportation involves moving waste from where it was generated to a facility that’s designed to treat, store, recycle or dispose of it.
To begin the shipping process, facilities need to fill out a shipping document that will stay with the waste through the entire transportation process. Various factors, including the volume of waste and safety concerns, influence how something gets moved from one location to another. The containers that the hazardous waste is sealed in also vary, as a plastic container may work for one kind of hazardous material but not be able to contain another.
What Are the Common Methods of Waste Disposal?
After waste is transported from the facility that generated it to a disposal center, waste professionals will determine the proper method of disposal for it. Before the final disposal process, they will check to see if anything can be recycled. If the waste can be recycled, instead of disposing of the material, it will be processed into a form that will be reused.
If recycling isn’t available, then there are a few environmentally responsible processes that end the waste’s life cycle. The three basic methods of disposal are:
Incineration: One way to dispose of waste is to burn it. One benefit to this disposal method is that the waste no longer takes up any space and doesn’t have to sit in a landfill. The heat generated by incinerating waste can be used to generate energy. However, burning waste can pollute the air, so companies should use filters and other safety precautions to make sure that toxic chemicals are not being released into the air people breathe.
Composting: This waste disposal method is used for organic waste that can decompose. Microbes break down the waste, eventually turning it into compost that agricultural companies and individuals can use in growing plants. The downside to this process is that it typically takes a long time and will require a considerable amount of space.
Sanitary landfill: If it can’t be burned or composted, the waste can go into a landfill that has a protective lining on its base. This protective lining is key to making sure that waste and toxic chemicals don’t seep into the ground, contaminating water that runs underneath the landfill. The downside to this process is that it doesn’t get rid of the waste, so you continuously need more and more space to handle the waste.
Who Regulates Hazardous Material Transportation?
In the United States, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulates the transportation of hazardous materials. Under one of their regulations, placards must be placed on all four sides of a vehicle that identifies the type of hazard being transported inside it. This rule is in place so that if an accident occurs, emergency, medical, fire and HAZMAT personnel can quickly determine what hazards they need to watch out for.
Sometimes, the weight of the hazardous material being transported will be the determining factor for whether placards are needed. The regulations require placards if a thousand pounds of hazardous material is being transported. However, if the material is classified as radioactive, flammable, poisonous or explosive, you’ll need to have a placard regardless of the weight.
The DOT also requires that transporters carefully choose the routes they travel on when they carry the waste from one place to another. Considering the route is important because companies need to minimize the damage that would occur if there happened to be an accidental release of the waste along the route. One general rule is to avoid densely populated areas where many people would be affected.
Another area of consideration is the type of road or highway that a transporter must consider, along with how weather conditions might impact driving and the quality of transport on those roads. A great deal of risk analysis is performed when choosing the best routes for waste transportation that includes hazardous material. At the forefront of a waste transportation expert’s mind is minimizing the number of people that would be negatively impacted if an accidental release occurred along the route.
If you’re driving along the road, you can see if you are traveling next to waste that may be hazardous by looking for waste symbols. The DOT characterizes nine hazard classes and represents them by symbols that must be included on a vehicle. The nine classes are corrosives, radioactive materials, poisonous materials, oxidizers, flammable solids, flammable liquids, gases, explosives and miscellaneous.
What Form Is Required When Transporting Hazardous Waste?
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has put forward regulations for the transport of hazardous materials in any mode of transportation. As a safety precaution, they have published a series of Hazard Materials Safety Regulations in Title 49 CFR Parts 100-185 that transporters must follow. You will have different forms and regulations to meet depending on the state, what you’re carrying and how you’re transporting the hazardous materials, among other factors.
As the regulations and forms can take time to understand and then complete, many companies rely on a waste transportation company to handle that side of the disposal process. Not having to look through all of the paperwork and complete it will save a significant amount of time and free employees up to complete other work.
What Kinds of Containers Should a Company Use to Store Waste?
At times, waste will need to sit for a while before it is taken to a disposal facility. Due to this waiting period, you should obtain containers that can store waste safely and hold up as time passes. When choosing a waste storage container, consider the following tips and facts:
Regardless of whether the material is hazardous or non-hazardous, tankers and railcars can transport waste if it’s stored in transportation, drum or pail containers.
Not only should containers be resistant to whatever they need to store, but they should also be durable enough to prevent weather and corrosion damage.
Ensure that all of your material is being stored in a container that is compatible with it. For instance, if you need to dispose of highly corrosive waste, you will want to place it in a plastic drum or at least a plastic lined-steel drum. If you need to dispose of flammable or non-corrosive liquids, then you can safely use a steel drum to transport them.
On top of knowing if the material is compatible with the container, you should also check to see if the waste previously stored in the container is compatible with the waste you want to transport now. If they are non-compatible, you may experience negative reactions or make the waste unusable for recycling. To get around this, the EPA suggests that companies label particular containers and only transport a specific form of waste in them.
Three Steps to Dispose Of Waste
Disposing of waste is a three-step process that follows the EPA’s Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, which was put in place nearly 40 years ago. This act was created to regulate and track the cradle-to-grave waste management of materials deemed hazardous.
In a cradle-to-grave process, a company puts their waste into a three-step process that includes the generation, transportation and disposal of waste. To give you a clearer view of the process, a detailed description of each step can be found below:
1. Generating Waste
The first step to disposing of waste is to have waste to dispose of in the first place. As a company generates waste, it needs to organize and store it somewhere while it waits for transportation. In an optimized cradle-to-grave waste management program, a company will have an on-site waste assessment to evaluate the waste it produces.
A good on-site assessment program will work with an environmental recovery partner to revel ways to decrease the total waste generated, establish how some of the waste could be reused and plan for its removal and, finally, disposal.
The waste that your company produces can be considered the waste cradle. By examining the cradle, you’ll be able to see the many different ways that waste can be reduced in areas such as packaging, shipping, quality control and the initial purchase of raw materials. You can also find ways to get the most for your money by reusing some of your waste rather than immediately disposing of it.
2. Transporting Waste
Waste that can’t be reduced or reused will need to be moved from the cradle to the grave. This process is when a waste transportation system comes into play and is vital for the proper removal of both hazardous and non-hazardous materials. To begin the transportation process, a company first needs to make sure that the waste is DOT shippable, meaning that they follow all relevant regulations such as:
Ensuring that trucks and waste containers adhere to labeling requirements
Checking to make sure that containers are not leaking or rusting, and that their lids attach properly
Sealing containers properly so that they do not release materials along their route that could contaminate the environment
In the transportation process, a waste transportation company will carefully plan out the routes drivers need to take the materials on. To make the transportation process easier, the best waste management companies will come to pick up the waste from their clients’ facilities. Once the material arrives at the disposal facilities, it will be carefully tested and monitored. With that information in place, it will be given a custom plan for its treatment and disposal depending on the material that needs to be disposed of.
3. Disposal and Treatment of Waste
Finally, the last step is disposing of the waste. To reduce your company’s environmental impact, waste will arrive at this step only after every single reuse and recycling option has been exhausted.
One last resort before waste gets sent to the grave is a waste-to-energy process. This process involves recovering energy from the waste through the conversion of non-recyclable waste into electricity, heat or fuel. The most common form of this waste-to-energy process is incinerating residual waste. By burning the material, waste disposal companies generate heat, which then is used to boil water and produce steam that is used to power steam generators.
If a waste-to-energy process isn’t possible, then solidification and stabilization are two other common options. If there is a threat of groundwater contamination, waste treatment centers will often put sludge and liquid wastes into a solidification process. While being solidified, the waste is mixed with absorbents to create a piece of solid waste that will not leak into groundwater. Along with solidification, waste will often undergo stabilization where the chemical make-up of materials are changed so that they can be safely stored in a landfill.
Different Kinds of Environmental Waste Transportation
As a waste transportation company determines how they will dispose of waste, they need to know what kind of environmental waste they are dealing with. There are a variety of environmental waste types that require different disposal processes. Some of the most common kinds of environmental waste are:
1. Bulk Liquid Transport
At ERC, bulk liquid waste management is taken seriously, as improper disposal practices and spillage can cause significant harm to an area. Below are some of the most common examples of bulk liquid transportation:
Emergency Waste Spill Removal
One area where you will need to utilize bulk liquid transportation is when there is an emergency spill. Regardless of how much a company puts into safeguards, an emergency spill is still possible. If a spill does occur, you’ll want to make sure that you can clean it up with speed and accuracy. Even if the waste is not classified as “hazardous,” it can still have negative effects on the area where the spillage occurs.
Having an emergency waste spill removal plan in place sets your company up to deal with the damage to the environment and the business’ public image that may result from a spill.
Some companies can stop the spill from continuing to occur but may not have the expertise or resources to effectively clean up the emergency waste that has already been spilled. To properly counteract a spillage, you’ll want a company that will jump straight into action after an emergency call. ERC’s Emergency Waste Removal team has the tools, resources, equipment and trucks to quickly clean up a spill that threatens your property.
For companies who have boating operations, proper marine disposal is a must. As you might expect, you can’t just go and dump your waste straight into the ocean or other waterways. Instead, the waste should be collected in marine waste tanks and then disposed of safely.
As the dumping of marine waste into waterways can lead to issues with water quality, marine life and other environmental concerns, a marine holding tank must be disposed of properly. There are procedures put forward by the Coast Guard that let companies know how to dispose of waste properly.
To follow all of the regulations of marine waste disposal, you’ll need to either study up on the current regulations and develop the infrastructure to dispose of it yourself or work with a company that can take care of this for you. Top waste disposal businesses will be able to dispose of bilge wastewater, ballast wastewater and a variety of other marine waste products in a way that complies with all regulations.
ERC is TWIC authorized and Coast Guard Certified, and we can make sure that the companies we work with do not run into any fines or other penalties for not following regulations. In addition to being a safeguard against running into regulatory problems, a company like ERC will dispose of waste quickly so boats can get back out to sea.
One feature that is a must for marine waste disposal is a turnkey solution. A turnkey solution refers to a system where a provider takes over every aspect of a project, system, solution or program. All the client has to do is put in minimal effort to make the system function, much like turning a key.
2. Sludges and Solids Transport
A company that produces sludge, solvent or silt waste needs to have a sludge waste transport system in place. For most companies, it is not cost-effective to set up an in-house sludge recycling center. As such, these companies should look for outside services that can assist in the sludge disposal process.
Sludge treatment services can range from cooling tower sludge, silt disposal service, industrial sludge removal, dredged materials disposal and waste solvent recycling. As there are so many different kinds of waste treatments needed for sludge disposal, companies often look for other businesses that can efficiently dispose of the sludge for them.
As a business, you want to focus on game-changing ideas and running the company efficiently. You don’t want to worry about your sludge disposal. A quality waste disposal company will come to your facility, collect any silt, solvent or sludge that you have, transport it from your facility to another location and then process the sludge in environmentally responsible ways. With such a system in place, you’ll have peace of mind that your waste is being disposed of properly.
3. Containerized Wastes
Containerized wastes include drums, totes, pails and barrels. Regardless of whether your waste drums contain hazardous or non-hazardous materials, you must follow the relevant regulations and protocols when you dispose of them.
No matter your needs, whether you have an entire truck’s worth of waste drums and totes or just a single container to dispose of, following DOT regulations is a must. A top quality waste disposal company can collect, transport and process waste from drums, totes, pails, barrels or any other waste disposal container that is DOT compliant.
With these features in place, you can clean up your job site quickly and rest easy knowing that the debris and waste are being transported to an environmentally friendly facility.
5. Packaged Waste and Non-Bulk Containers
Companies that manage a laboratory often have to keep both hazardous and non-hazardous chemicals in secure packaging at their workplace. Moving lab packaging waste to another facility for responsible processing is crucial, and many labs look to chemical disposal companies to help them remove it.
The first step to a good lab packaging disposal process is to understand what lab packaging is. This kind of packaging is often used to store chemicals that are used in a lab. The chemicals are often kept in smaller, individual containers. Once they’ve been used, instead of trying to dispose of these packages one by one, labs often place them in a large drum to dispose of them all at once.
A lab pack waste drum often has multiple compartments so that chemicals can be kept separate so that they don’t interact with one another. Once a waste drum is filled, a waste transportation company then facilitates the proper disposal of the chemicals and the packaging they come in.
Since these chemicals can often be dangerous to the environment and people who come in contact with them, you’ll need to have protocols in place to dispose of lab packaging and the chemicals contained within safely.
Often, labs will look to companies that have extensive experience processing waste drums to handle them. ERC handles more than 60,000 waste drum and items each year. Because of our experience, we know the ins and out of the transportation process. To make the process easier on your company, try to find a waste disposal company that will come pick up the waste drums from your facility.
6. Hazardous Waste
Hazardous waste is any waste that is classified as being dangerous to the environment or human health. Transporters of this kind of waste take extra precautions to prevent it from coming into contact with the general public or from spilling into the environment. As this article mentioned previously, there are a variety of hazardous materials that require different transportation methods.
7. Used Oil Reclamation
Oil and gas extraction companies, along with other petroleum-related firms, can create a significant amount of oil waste which they need to clean up and dispose of properly. Other industries that also deal with oil waste transport include the manufacturing, defense and automotive industries. Regardless of the industry, if your company produces oil waste, it needs to dispose of it in an environmentally responsible way.
Waste oil and gas recycling services help a company make sure that they dispose of oil efficiently and safely. A good waste disposal company will aim to recycle and reuse as much of the oil as possible. They will then dispose of any remaining oil responsibly. Some other oil waste services include used motor oil pickup, hydraulic oil disposal and oil collection services.
Environmental Waste Transport Services From ERC
Does your company produce waste and need help disposing of it? ERC can handle your waste cost-effectively and efficiently. With a transportation company like ERC, the responsibility of disposing of waste is taken out of your hands and placed in ones that you can trust. Instead of having to worry about proper transportation processes or constructing your own processing facilities, let an experienced waste transportation company take responsibility of it.
Standard Steel is the largest manufacturer of forged steel wheels and axles for railcars and locomotives. ERC provides environmental field services during all scheduled manufacturing shutdowns and, also; handles various cleanup and recycling services on an as-needed basis. Standard Steel has hired ERC for 8 continuous years, citing dependability, thoroughness, and customer care.
Standard steel is one of many companies we have been able to help with our services. Your company can be next. If dealing with cleanup, recycling, wastewater treatment and other aspects of waste management have been slowing you down, ERC is ready to help. Once you have experienced our services, you may wonder how you ever managed without us.
We are committed to providing turn-key, environmentally sound waste management solutions using the latest technologies to help our customers meet their sustainability goals.
Contact ERC for Waste Transportation and Disposal Services in PA, MD, NY, NJ, DE, VA, WV or Washington D.C.
You’ve seen what our capabilities are and what we’ve done for a company like Standard Steel. We’d love the opportunity to do the same for your company. Our waste management services can help improve your efficiency and streamline your business. We’re located in Lancaster, PA, and Baltimore, MD, but we service the entire Mid-Atlantic region.
Our methods are efficient, sustainable and based on decades of experience with residual waste recycling and disposal. We’re ready to help you with your residual waste service needs right now. To develop a custom residual waste plan for you, contact us online or call at 1-833-342-5372.