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Regulation Loosens on Disposal of Solvent-Contaminated Wipes

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July 24, 2013—The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has changed its hazardous waste management regulations to exclude solvent-contaminated wipes, under the condition that businesses clean or dispose of wipes properly.

This change, occurring under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, is based on EPA’s final risk analysis, published in 2009, which concluded wipes possessing certain hazardous solvents do not pose significant risk to human health and the environment if properly managed.

“The rule reduces costs for thousands of businesses, many of which are small businesses, while maintaining protection of human health and the environment,” said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response.

The EPA noted that wipes are used in conjunction with solvents for cleaning and other purposes by tens of thousands of facilities in numerous industry sectors including automobile repair shops.

The ruling is only relevant for wipes that are cleaned properly, and certain recordkeeping requirements must be met. To be excluded, solvent-contaminated wipes must be managed in closed, labeled containers and cannot contain free liquids when sent for cleaning or disposal.

Once the final ruling has been published, it will be accessible through ASA’s legislative website.

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