OSEA Safety Blog

Requirements for Laundering Solvent Soaked Rags

Friday, March 6, 2020 Tiffany Bartz

The regulatory requirements for laundering solvent-contaminated wipes, rags, or clothing can be found under 40 CFR 261.4(a)(26). The following is a breakdown of the EPA requirements.

What does this include?

  • Wipes that contain one or more F001 - F005 listed solvents as found in 261.31 nor the corresponding P or U listed solvents found in 261.33
  • Wipes that exhibit a hazardous characteristic resulting from a solvent listed in part 261
  • Wipes that exhibit only the hazardous characteristic of ignitability when containing one or more non-listed solvents (they can not be considered toxic, reactive)

What is not included?

  • Wipes that exhibit characteristics of toxicity, corrosivity, or reactivity due to non-listed solvents.
  • Wipes that contain hazardous waste other than solvents.

How should the solvent-contaminated wipes, rags and or clothing be handled, stored and labeled while they are on-site?

  • They must be accumulated, stored and transported in a fire-proof or fire-resistant non-leaking container with a closed lid.
  • Once the container is full it must be stored in another fire-proof or fire-resistant container with a sealed lid.
  • Any container that is used to store solvent-contaminated wipes should be labeled “Excluded Solvent-Contaminated Wipes”.
  • Solvent-contaminated wipes for laundering can be stored on-site up to 180 days.

Conditions of wipes prior to transport.

  • Wipes must not contain any free liquids prior to being sent out for cleaning. The “No Free Liquids” condition is defined in 40 CFR 260.10 and is based on the EPA Methods Test 90956 (https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-12/documents/9095b_0.pdf)
    • Free liquids removed from the wipes must be managed according to hazardous waste regulations in 40 CFR parts 260 through 273.

Recordkeeping - Generators must maintain documentation that includes:

  • Name and address of the laundry, dry cleaner, landfill or combustor.
  • Documentation that the 180-day accumulation time is being met.
  • Description of the process the generator is using to meet the “No Free Liquids” condition.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has additional requirements that are more stringent the EPA’s ruling in the following areas:

  • Department of Transportation (DOT) compliant containers are required for storage and accumulation.
  • While the solvent-contaminated wipes are being accumulated or stored on-site they must be managed as ordinary hazardous waste until loaded onto the truck or taken to the laundered facility.

Additional requirements by State regulatory agencies can be found here: https://www.epa.gov/hwgenerators/where-solvent-contaminated-wipes-final-rule-effect

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