The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), enacted in 1976, is the federal law governing the management and handling of solid and hazardous waste in the United States. RCRA authorizes the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to: regulate the generation, management, treatment, storage, transportation and disposal of hazardous wastes, solid wastes and underground storage tanks; and to ensure compliance by enforcing the RCRA statute. The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) is tasked by EPA to administer the hazardous waste management programs in the state of Arkansas, including container management, waste identification, training, and contingency planning. The University of Arkansas is required by ADEQ to follow the waste management rules laid out by RCRA as outlined below:

Hazardous Waste can be loosely defined as spent material, ready to be thrown away, that can adversely affect human health or the environment. It includes materials that are:

  • Ignitable. Liquids or mixtures with a flashpoint of 140º F or lower; includes most non-halogenated solvents (e.g., Methanol, Ethanol, Acetone, Xylene); petroleum-based products (e.g., Gasoline); flammable solids (e.g.,Sodium or Potassium metals, solid Naphthalene, Nitrocellulose).
  • Toxic. A poison, carcinogen, mutagen, or reproductive hazard, or is capable of causing harm to the health or safety of people or the environment.  A substance is considered “Toxic” if it contains any of the substances listed in APC&E Regulation 23 § 261.24 Table 1 at concentrations equal to or greater than those listed.  Over 800 substances are specifically regulated by the EPA.
  • Corrosive. Liquids with pH less than or equal to 2 or greater than or equal to 12.5.  Liquids with pH above 2 and below 12.5 are not considered corrosive and may be disposed of as normal waste, provided they do not exhibit any other hazardous characteristics.
  • Reactive. Includes materials that are unstable, explosive, shock sensitive, reactive to water or air, or are strong oxidizers.  Organic peroxides, cyanide, and sulfide bearing materials are also reactive and may produce toxic gases when mixed with acids.

Hazardous Waste Storage Rules:

  • All hazardous waste containers must be labeled "HAZARDOUS WASTE".  Descriptions such as "WASTE" or "CHEMICAL WASTE" are not acceptable.
  • Use chemical names; not symbols, trade names or abbreviations.  Be specific; list each substance.
  • Containers should be similar to original, if possible.  Five gallon jugs and four liter bottles are acceptable if material added is compatible with any residue in containers.   Leave adequate head space for expansion.
  • Containers must have a secure, tight lid in place at all times except when waste material is being added.  Never leave a funnel in an unattended container.
  • Store containers away from drains or sinks, in a secure location; NEVER in a hallway.   Keep the storage area clean; inspect for spills daily; and clean up any spilled material promptly.
  • Do not accumulate more than 55 gallons of hazardous waste, or more than 1 quart of acutely hazardous waste.   Store at or near the point of generation and in a fume hood or safety cabinet, if possible.   Avoid storing incompatible materials together; don't mix halogenated with non-halogenated wastes; keep PCBs, dioxin, mercury, and heavy metals separate; don't mix acids and bases, or oxiders and flammables.

Hazardous Waste Disposal: