FEB 26 1985
Mr. Kevin J. Walter
Bureau of Technical Services
Division of Environmental Enforcement
Department of Environmental Conservation
State of New York
50 Wolf Road
Albany, New York 12233-0001
Dear Mr. Walter:
I am writing in response to your recent letter requesting clarification of the definition of the characteristics of ignitability for hazardous wastes.
Your understanding that the words "it is a liquid, other than an aqueous solution containing less than 24 percent alcohol by volume" were intended to exclude alcoholic beverages, such as wine, and non-liquid materials is correct. However, while the Agency's intent was that this exemption apply to potable beverages only, because the term "alcohol" was used instead of "ethanol," all aqueous wastes which are ignitable only because they contain alcohols (here using the term alcohol to mean any chemical containing the hydroxyl [-OH] functional group) are excluded from regulation.
While the Agency completes the process of officially adopting a method
for identifying "free liquids," for use in the land disposal regulations,
it is our current practice to employ Method 9095 (see "Test Methods for
Evaluating Solid Waste,SW-946ø) for such purposes. Any material
passing through the paint filter is
deemed to be a liquid.
With respect to what constitutes an "aqueous solution," such a solution is one in which water is the primary component. This means that water constitutes at least 50 percent by weight of the sample. Although, we have not officially approved any test methods for determining a waste's water content, any competent laboratory should be able to make such a determination using standard techniques (e.g., Karl Fisher titration, GC).
We share your concern over the ambiguities in the current ignitability
definition and have a program underway to correct the characteristic's
shortcomings. Specifically, changes are under development to replace
the alcoholic solution exclusion with a generic exclusion for those wastes
which, while possessing a flash point below 60øC, neither continue
to burn nor, if they do burn, release enough energy to cause a major fire.
In addition, steps are being taken to expand the ignitability characteristic
to include wastes which are physical solids. Both of these
changes will involve proposal and promulgation of specific definitional test methods and thresholds.
I hope this information clears up any questions you may have about the ignitability characteristic. If you have any further questions concerning any of the hazardous waste characteristics, please contact David Friedman, of my staff, at 202-382-4770.
Original Document signed
John H. Skinner
Office of Solid Waste