Webinar Wrap-Up: Tips for Cost-Effective Used Oil Management
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November 30, 2015
Webinar Wrap-Up: Tips for Cost-Effective Used Oil Management

Compliance with the used oil management regulations has always posed challenges to generators of used oil—from understanding the applicability of the regulations to identifying any cost-saving opportunities. In a recent webinar titled Used Oil Generators: Cost-Effective Strategies to Stay Compliant with EPA Regulations, speaker David J. Scriven-Young, senior counsel of primarily environmental law, construction, and commercial litigation practices at Peckar & Abramson, provided guidance on how to unravel several of the used oil management conundrums.

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One helpful clarification was Scriven-Young’s discussion of the terms “used oil” and “waste oil,” and how the two terms are not interchangeable. “Used oil,” as defined in the used oil regulations, means any oil that has been refined from crude oil or any synthetic oil that has been used and, as a result of such use, is contaminated by physical or chemical impurities. Such oil is presumed to be recyclable. Waste oil, on the other hand, is oil that has not been used but is not suitable for its original purpose. (Scriven-Young gave the example of a drum of oil into which water has been inadvertently added.)

This discussion lead to Scriven-Young’s explanation of the “mixture rule” that requires mixtures of used oil and hazardous waste to be managed as hazardous waste. Examples of such mixtures were given as well as the exceptions to the mixture rule—those mixtures of used oil and hazardous waste that may be managed under the less stringent used oil regulations.

The webinar speaker emphasized that it’s wise to consider used oil as a valuable resource rather than as a waste. He suggested that generators segregate the different types of used oil according to whether they are high-quality streams or low-quality streams, and noted that there are methods such as “gravity settling” that can make the used oil stream of a higher quality.

Differences between the federal rules and state rules that can be more stringent (such as those in California) were addressed, and tips on how to store and transport used oil off-site were provided. Scriven-Young discussed several examples of generator used oil regulatory violations that proved costly to the generator.

The webinar concluded with a list of resources that used oil generators may find helpful in answering their specific questions about how to manage used oil. 

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