Solvent-Contaminated Wipes Rulemaking
The goal of the solvent-contaminated wipes final rule is to maintain protection of human health and the environment while establishing consistent federal regulations for solvent-contaminated wipes in a way that reduces overall compliance costs for the industry, many of which are small businesses. The proposed rule was published in 2003 and its revised risk assessment was published for comment in 2009.2003 proposed rule EPA received comments questioning the validity of the risk screening analysis and the modeling assumptions used to support the proposal. To address those comments, EPA developed a revised risk analysis. This action presents the findings of and seeks comment on the new analysis.
The revised risk analysis includes an updated estimate of the quantity of solvents on wipes and in laundry sludge that may be disposed in municipal solid waste landfills and uses a more representative municipal solid waste landfill model. The revised risk analysis shows that 8 of the 20 solvents evaluated could pose risk to human health, at or above levels generally of concern, if disposed in an unlined municipal solid waste landfill. In a composite lined landfill, tetrachloroethylene showed a potential for human health risk at levels generally of concern when disposed wipes and laundry sludge are co-disposed.
- Extension of Comment Period - December 15, 2009
- Notice of Data Availability Federal Register Notice - October 27, 2009
- Press Release
- Frequent Questions
Documents for Public Review and Comment
The 2009 Revised Risk Analysis and associated background information for public review and comment are available through Regulations.gov under Docket ID EPA-HQ-2003-0004. Links to the three risk analysis documents and appendices are below. (If necessary, scroll down the linked page to find the main document below the attachments.) Background references supporting these documents are other document ID numbers EPA-HQ-RCRA-2003-0004-0415 through EPA-HQ-RCRA-2003-0004-0440. (Click on the ID column to order the documents by ID number.)
- F001–F005 Solvent-Contaminated Wipes and Laundry Sludge: Comparison of Landfill Loading Calculations and Risk-Based Mass Loading Limits (August 2009)
- Risk-Based Mass Loading Limits for Solvents in Disposed Wipes and Laundry Sludges Managed in Municipal Landfills (October 2009)
- Appendices to Risk-Based Mass Loading Limits for Solvents in Disposed Wipes and Laundry Sludges Managed in Municipal Landfills
- Landfill Loadings Calculations for Disposed Solvent-Contaminated Wipes and Laundry Sludge Managed in Municipal Landfills (October 2008)
Peer Review Documents for 2009 Risk Analysis
- Response to Peer Reviewer Comments on Landfill Loading Calculations (June 2008)
- Response to Peer Reviewer Comments on Risk-based Landfill Mass Loadings (May 2008)
EPA proposed to modify its hazardous waste management regulations under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act for certain solvent-contaminated materials, such as reusable shop towels, rags, disposable wipes and paper towels. Specifically, EPA proposed to:
- Conditionally exclude from the definition of hazardous waste disposable industrial wipes that are contaminated with hazardous solvents and are going to disposal; and,
- Conditionally exclude from the definition of solid waste reusable industrial shop towels and rags that are contaminated with hazardous solvents and are sent for laundering or dry cleaning (hereinafter referred to as disposable industrial wipes and reusable industrial wipes, respectively).
Supporting information for this notice is available under Docket ID EPA-HQ-RCRA-2003-0004.
- Proposed Rule - November 20, 2003 || Proposed Rule (PDF) (35 pp, 255k)
- Extension of Comment Period - January 30, 2004 || Extension of Public Comment Period (PDF) (2 pp, 41K)
- Notice of Public Hearing and Extension of Comment Period (PDF) - February 24, 2004 (1 pg, 38K)
- Fact Sheet: EPA Proposes Conditional Exclusions from the Definition of Hazardous Waste and the Definition of Solid Waste For Solvent-Contaminated Wipes (PDF) (2 pp, 15K)
- Technical Background Document (August 2003)
- 1999 Risk Analysis Supporting the 2003 Proposed Regulation
- Peer Reviews of the 1999 Risk Analysis
- Public Comments on the 2003 Proposed Regulation (various, see Docket)
- Other supporting information (various, see Docket)