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    Title:     Hazardous Waste Management

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Subject Environmental Science Pages 13 Style APA


Transportation, Handling and Storage of Hazardous Waste


Simply put, hazardous waste refers to wastes with properties that are dangerous to both human health and the environment. These wastes are generated from a variety of sources ranging from batteries to industrial manufacturing processes. They take various forms such as sludge, solids, gases and liquids (Blackman, 2016). Wastes can be by-products of manufacturing processes, discarded unused and used commercial products such as pesticides. Proper management is needed to control the effects of waste material on the environment. This is done through proper transportation, handling and storage of hazardous wastes.

Transportation of hazardous waste

Transportation of hazardous wastes is done by transporters. These transporters are entities which move waste from one site to another by rail, air, water and highway. They are critical in the hazardous waste management systems since they deliver wastes from point of generation to its ultimate destination. The activity involves transporting waste from point of origin to facilities that can store, treat and recycle or dispose of the hazardous waste (Blackman, 2016). It also incorporates transportation of treated waste to other facilities for further disposal or treatment.

Modes of transportation

Transportation of hazardous wastes from point of generation to designated facility can be done through several ways. There are set regulations that establish guidelines for proper recordkeeping and handling of waste that are transported through rail, highway, air, or water. These modes of transportation have specified standard or requirements that they must meet.

Highway shipment

There are a number of requirements that highway transporters must fulfill during their transportation process. According to Yilmaz, Kara and Yetis (2016), the first is a signature of the transporter and date of manifest. Secondly, the transporter must leave a dated and signed copy of the manifest with the waste generator. Thirdly, the transporter must ensure that the signed manifest accompany the waste. Fourthly, the entity should submit to the waste handling department a legible copy of the completed manifest. Lastly, the transporter must keep the copy of the manifest for at least three years to allow for enforcement action if need be.

Water shipment

With reference to Yilmaz, Kara and Yetis (2016), water transporters are required to be familiar with the set standards of the manifest and have an EPA number. The manifest, however, do not physically accompany the waste shipment. The individual delivering to the water transporter must sign and indicate the date of delivery on the manifest and delivery it to the assigned facility. When delivered directly, the transporter must accomplish a set requirement. The first is ensuring that the shipment paper accompanying the waste contain information covered in the manifest. Secondly, the transporter must obtain a signature of the owner of the designated facility.  Thirdly, date of manifest and signature of the generator must be obtained. Lastly, he must retain a copy of the manifest or shipping paper for the next three years.

Rail shipment

This forms another mode through which hazardous waste is transported to the designated facility. Under this method, the transporter must ensure that the designated facility is listed in the manifest. Here, the actual manifest does not have to accompany the waste during transportation. Nevertheless, a standard shipping document or waybill containing all manifest information should accompany the waste. The transporter’s duties include dating and signing the manifest, retaining the copy of the manifest for three years, returning the signed manifest copy to the generator and forwarding three copies of the manifest to the designated facility (Das et al., 2016).

Guidelines for Transportation of Hazardous Wastes

Proper management of waste, whether on-site where generation occurs or off-site at the treatment, disposal or storage must incorporate integrated operations. These operations include proper characterization and segregation of waste residue after utilization of recyclables or reuse of recoverables (Das et al., 2016). Immobilization of the waste is done through incineration and appropriate treatment methods to minimize its effects on the environment after disposal.

The major obstacle that is currently experienced is behavioral or institutional rather than technical aspects. Majority of hazardous wastes are currently produced from medium and small scale industries. To reduce the amount of disposed hazardous wastes, these industries are accorded temporary permissions that allow them to store the wastes in their premises to reduce outside exposures. However, due to limited space, waste generators normally end up disposing their treated waste to illegal dumpsites (Büyüközkan & Gocer, 2017). There is thus, the need to create a central dumpsite that accommodates all waste generators.

Requirement for off-site transportation to treatment, storage, disposal facility (TSDF)

The transportation of toxic wastes should be planned such that its likelihood of causing danger to the public is greatly reduced. Transportation is thus expected to satisfy two main standards. First it must satisfy the needs of the occupier and transporters. Secondly, it must meet international and national safety labelling requirements (Büyüközkan & Gocer, 2017). Transportation is critical in the handling of hazardous waste since it determines the likelihood of spillage or accidents to occur. For this reason, transportation of hazardous wastes is highly regulated to ensure there is minimal spillage during loading and offloading of the materials.

Off-site transportation of hazardous waste require adequate knowledge in various areas. According to Büyüközkan and Gocer (2017), the container used should be leak-proof and have mechanical stability. Secondly, containers must be labeled to identify the wastes, the remedial measures in case of accidents and describe possible hazard. Thirdly, the transport vehicle must display possible hazard from the waste and telephone number of the contact agency to handle any emergency and first-aid measures in case of spills. Fourthly, the transporter must possess technical competence and skills needed to handle the hazardous wastes. Fifthly, the transporter must be proficient in emergency procedures in cases of accidents.

Packaging of the Waste during Transportation

Containers used to transport the waste must be able to retain its integrity for at least six months of operation. The packaging material must be of such strength and type that do not break or become defective during transportation (Büyüközkan & Gocer, 2017). Secondly, the packaging material must be sealed such that its content is completely prevented from spilling during transportation as a result of vibrations and jerks caused by poor transport system. Thirdly, the packaging material should be of a mild steel with appropriate corrosion-resistant coatings. Other packaging modes that should be used include plastic drums, HDPE containers and cardboard cartons. The container must be leak-proof and capable of withstanding shock loads.

Labelling of Containers during Transportation of Hazardous Waste

During transportation, the containers and vehicles must be properly labeled. With reference to Paredes, Bronfman, Marianov, and Latorre-Núñez (2017), all the containers must contain clear marks of the current hazardous contents. The markings should be waterproof and well attached to ensure they are not scrubbed off. Previous labels must be obliterated in case the contents are different. The containers must be labeled with such words as hazardous waste in vernacular language. The label must contain information about waste type, code number, hazardous property symbol and hazardous property, for instance flammable (Paredes et al., 2017). Such labels must withstand effects of the sun and rain at all times. The labelling is crucial in tracking the waste from its generation to final disposal points.

Hazardous Waste Handling

Proper hazardous waste handling promotes safety both to the environment and human health. Improper handling of hazardous waste may result in the release of harmful chemicals into the air, soil, and water thus posing a serious health threat to human beings and environment at large (Paredes et al., 2017). There are four major ways in which waste handlers can properly handle generated wastes.

Using Proper Storage Materials

The use of appropriate storage containers is key to ensuring proper handling of hazardous wastes. The handlers must use sealable containers to prevent release of chemical substances that are harmful to human health and the environment. The handlers must ensure that storage containers are compatible with the stored waste. Such containers must possess corrosion and weather resistance properties to avoid unnecessary accidents (Hosny, Abbas, & Shalaby, 2016). Waste handlers must also ensure that all storage containers and drums have hazardous waste labeled on them.

Understanding Set Requirement

This tip requires waste handlers to know what type of hazardous waste to be handled. The handler must also identify the hazardous waste generator to ensure establishment of efficient waste handling. According to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a waste generator refers to any person whose actions and processes result in the creation of hazardous waste (Hosny, Abbas, & Shalaby, 2016). Since different organizations create different forms of wastes, it is crucial that the hazardous waste handlers be familiar with these types of wastes.

There are three types of waste generators. They include large quantity generators, small quantity generators and conditionally exempt small quantity generators (Hosny, Abbas, & Shalaby, 2016). Each classification complies with different sets of processes and regulations. However, the requirements become more costly with the amount of wastes produced. This process is made more complex on the basis that waste generation status of any organization is measured every month. Thus, waste production category for each industry changes based on production and work flow for each month.

Training of Employees

Safe working environment will be created and maintained by a well trained workforce. At minimum possible standard, all industries must ensure that each employee is well vast with proper hazardous waste handling and procedures in emergency cases (Hosny, Abbas, & Shalaby, 2016). Additionally, such employees must know their daily responsibilities in relation to proper waste handling in the facility. Companies producing large quantities of hazardous wastes have a more strict and stringent training requirements. These requirements include classroom instructions and individual training programs on waste handling.

Keeping an Updated Contingency Plan

To ensure proper handling of waste, each waste generator must have an emergency contingency plan in cases of spillage of the waste. The contingency plan must be designed such that it minimizes environmental and human health effects from explosions, fires and accidental spillage of the hazardous material. Such a plan must contain actions that are immediately implemented during the inevitable and accidental situations. The plan should also outline a coordinated, planned and organized response to any emergency related to waste handling (Hosny, Abbas, & Shalaby, 2016).

Rules for Safe Handling of Hazardous Waste

There are ten basic rules for handling of hazardous waste to ensure minimized risk of mishandling the hazard. According to Ncube, Ncube, & Voyi, (2017), the first rule is that each waste handler must follow the procedures that are set by the organization and perform their duties as per their training. Secondly, hazard handlers must be cautious and plan ahead in case of emergency. The waste handler must think about the possible mistakes that might occur while handling the waste and concentrate on the current work done to avoid unnecessary mistakes. Thirdly, waste handlers should use recommended storage materials such as PPE and conduct proper inspection of the container to ensure its safe. Worn or damaged PPE must be discarded since they cannot provide adequate protection.

Fourthly, the handler must ensure that each container is properly labeled to ensure that correct containers are used for each hazard. Fifthly, handlers must read material data sheet and labels for each container before using them to ensure that appropriate precautions are taken care of (Ncube et al., 2017). Sixthly, all handlers must use materials related to waste handling for their intended purposes. Containers for collecting solid and liquid wastes should be distinctly separate. Seventhly, waste handlers must never drink or eat while handling any waste product.

All hazardous waste handlers must read the labels and refer to material safety data sheet to properly identify hazard properties that such materials contain (Ncube et al., 2017). Ninthly, all materials must be stored properly in cool, dry, ventilated and separate places. Lastly, hazardous waste handlers must keep themselves and work areas as clean as possible all the time. Waste handlers must wash their hands thoroughly using water and appropriate detergent. Also, working surfaces should be cleaned and properly disinfected to minimize contamination risk. Additionally, learning about emergency procedures such as evacuation plan is critical in ensuring safety during handling of hazardous materials.

Storage of Hazardous Waste

Safe storage of hazardous waste is one of the simplest ways of protecting human health and the environment at large. Hazardous waste materials should be stored in covered containers off the ground. This helps prevent any accidental leakage into the ground. Also, it protects the storage containers from environmental degradation. The main reason for storage of hazardous waste is to make it inaccessible to the public thus enhancing safe working environmental conditions (Pavlas et al., 2017).

Guidelines for Safe Storage of Hazardous Waste

The first guideline is to keep different hazardous materials separated at all times. To ensure this, all the hazardous wastes must be kept in their original containers, the products must not be mixed at all cost and wastes must never be stored in a container that was previously used in storing other waste products (Pavlas et al., 2017). Secondly, storage containers must be appropriately labeled. These containers should be dated and labeled to help in identifying their content. The labels should be big enough to ease their visibility to the handers. Pre-made stickers can be used to ensure proper labeling of the containers.

Thirdly, all storage containers must be kept in the right condition. The containers must be kept dry at all times to avoid issues of corrosion. If a container starts to degrade while currying the hazardous waste, it should be placed inside a new container which must then be appropriately labeled. The storage containers must be inspected regularly to detect any signs of deterioration before leakages occur (Pavlas et al., 2017). The lids and caps of the storage containers must always remain tightly sealed to avoid contact with the environment. Corrosive, flammable, and reactive hazardous wastes must be kept in separate shelves to reduce any contact risk.  Lastly, all hazardous wastes must be kept away from flame, spark and heat. This particularly concerns aerosols and flammable wastes.

Storage Equipment

All containers used in the storage of hazardous wastes whether plastic bucket or metal drums must possess a number of properties for safe storage of the material. These containers must be in good conditions, rust free, clean, and free of holes, rags, dirt and water (Mmereki et al., 2017). These materials must be compatible with the stored waste. Containers that must never be used in the storage of hazardous wastes are food services and household detergent containers. Original chemical containers are the best storage containers to be used by the waste handler. Sealing of the storage containers should be done using screw-type lids. Materials such as shift lids, plastic wraps and aluminum foil should be avoided at all times (Mmereki et al., 2017).

Containment buildings can also be used to store various hazardous wastes. Such a building must be completely closed and separate from other structures or surrounding buildings. This must be free standing building having a floor, roof and four walls. Hazardous wastes that are placed in sealed containers should be placed in containment as fast as possible to avoid its exposure to the environment. Surface impoundment is another structure that can be used to store hazardous wastes. This is an in-ground structure that can either be man-made or natural. Such surfaces must be lined with strong and heavy plastics to avoid leakage of the stored materials (Tsuji et al., 2016).

Tanks can also be used in the storage of the hazardous wastes. Tanks refer to non-portable structure that can be made of fiberglass, steel, plastic or concrete (Tsuji et al., 2016). The other structure is waste piles. These are ground level waste mounds. They are open but are lined underneath with impenetrable materials to avoid hazardous contact with the ground. However, hazardous materials which emit fumes cannot be stored using this method.

Storage Requirement

According to Tsuji, Tonokura, and Hayashi, (2016), containers carrying reactive or ignitable waste must be placed at least fifty feet from any valuable property. This is to protect the facilities in case of accidental fires originating from the hazardous waste. Secondly, incompatible wastes must never be stored in one container. For instance, solid wastes must never be mixed with liquid hazardous wastes. Thirdly, hazardous wastes that are stored outside the facility must be fifty feet from any water sources around. Fourthly, hazardous wastes must never be stored in dirty and unwashed containers which previously held an incompatible material. Lastly, storage containers holding incompatible wastes must be separated by a wall or other appropriate devices.

Important Characteristics to Consider while Storing Wastes

There are four main characteristics of hazardous wastes that enlighten organization on proper ways of storing them. The first one is ignitability. Ignitable hazardous wastes can undergo spontaneous combustion and create fire under temperatures less than sixty degrees. Examples of such wastes include use solvents and waste oils. Methods used to determine this character of waste are setaflash closed cup and pensky-martens closed cup methods (Zhao et al., 2016).

Corrosivity is the other characteristic that is integral in determining storage method of the waste products. Corrosive waste are solids which exhibit acidic or alkaline properties. Aqueous materials with pH of 2 and below or pH of 12.5 and above are extremely corrosive (Zhao et al., 2016). Liquid waste capable of corroding metal containers such as drums and barrels are corrosive. An example is a used battery acid. Test methods used to determine Corrosivity of hazardous wastes include corrosivity towards steel and pH electronic measurement.

The third characteristic is reactivity. A reactive waste is an unstable waste under normal conditions. These wastes can release toxic vapors, gases and fumes when heated or compressed. They may result in explosions under extreme conditions (Wang et al., 2016). Examples of such hazardous waste include unused explosives and lithium-sulfur batteries. Currently, there are no test methods that have been established to determine reactivity of hazardous wastes. Therefore, reactivity of waste is determined using narrative criteria that are documented in hazardous waste regulations.

The last characteristic of wastes that determines storage method is its toxicity. These are wastes that are fatal or harmful when ingested or absorbed into the body. If improperly disposed, toxic chemical constituents of hazardous wastes pollute both the soil and ground water. Laboratory test for hazardous waste toxicity is toxicity characteristic leaching procedure (Wang et al., 2016). This test identifies hazardous waste that may leach highly concentrated toxic substances into the environment.


To prevent the harmful effects of hazardous waste to the environment and human health, proper hazardous waste management is key. This is done through proper transportation, handling and storage of hazardous wastes. Transportation involves moving waste from their point of origin to facilities that can store, treat, recycle or dispose of the hazardous waste safely. Proper handling of waste incorporates the use of proper storage materials, understanding the set requirement and training of waste handlers. Proper storage of hazardous waste makes it inaccessible to the public thus enhancing safety conditions. Also, hazardous waste materials should be stored in covered containers off the ground to prevent leakages into the ground and surrounding.



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