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ECAR Fact Sheet for Massachusetts
Antifreeze

Regulations
Self-Audit Checklist
Best Management Practices
Contacts
Related ECAR Fact Sheets
Other Relevant Resources

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The following fact sheet was prepared by the ECAR Center staff. Once prepared, each ECAR Center fact sheet undergoes a review process with the applicable state environmental agency(ies). You can check on the status of the review process here. Please read the disclaimer on the status page. While we have tried to present a summary of the essential information on this topic, you should be aware that other items, such as local regulations, may apply to you.

What You Need to Know

Used antifreeze, through contact with a car's cooling system, may contain traces of lead and benzene, making it a possible hazardous waste. If not properly managed and stored, these pollutants can seep into soil and groundwater harming people and the environment.

This fact sheet will tell you:

  • How to handle antifreeze appropriately.
  • What you need to do if you do not qualify in order to manage antifreeze in compliance with hazardous waste rules

Regulations

Waste Classification. Antifreeze is made up using some regulated chemicals including ethylene glycol and propylene glycol. During use, antifreeze can become contaminated with traces of benzene and lead. Used antifreeze should never be disposed of down storm drains or surface waters. It is illegal and dangerous to discharge antifreeze to septic tanks, dry wells or to the outdoors.

Due to its composition, used antifreeze can be considered a hazardous waste. Unlike most states, the State of Massachusetts has not adopted the federal regulations that apply to used antifreeze management. Massachusetts' requirements for antifreeze are stricter than the federal rules and more complicated. Under state law, even if it is recycled, antifreeze is designated as a listed hazardous waste and there are extensive requirements for classifying recyclable materials and recycling facility permits. All aspects of hazardous waste recycling, including transportation, are regulated.

See the ECAR Hazardous Waste fact sheet for details about storing, handling, and shipping of hazardous wastes.

Generator Status. Since Massachusetts considers waste oil to be a hazardous waste, you must determine your generator status. Click on the ECAR Hazardous Waste Fact Sheet to understand more about determining your generator status.

Storage and Labeling. Store antifreeze in closed containers on an impermeable concrete surface with spill controls. Consider keeping antifreeze in two separate, closed containers: one for antifreeze that cannot be reused marked “Waste Antifreeze Only-Hazardous Waste.”

Spills. Clean up all spills right away. Keep spill control equipment in a central location, accessible to all employees. All chemical spills that occur within the State of Georgia must be reported to the 24-Hour Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Emergency Response hotline at 617-556-1133 or 888-304-1133.

Filter Management. Waste antifreeze filters and particulate generated from recycling antifreeze also must be managed as hazardous waste. See the ECAR Hazardous Waste fact sheet for additional information.

Record Keeping. Contract with a licensed transporter to pick up your waste oil for recycling or disposal. Save your shipping records for at least three years.

Links to the Regulations. Use the following links to view the regulations pertaining to used antifreeze management.

Massachusetts Hazardous Waste Management Requirements

Federal EPA Standards Applicable to Generators of Hazardous Waste


Self-Audit Checklist

When an inspector comes to your facility, there are certain things he or she checks to see if you are in compliance with environmental regulations. It makes good sense for you to perform a "self-audit" and catch and correct problems before they result in penalties. Also, there are some compliance incentives associated with self-audits (see Audit Policy Page).

Use the following list to audit your antifreeze storage areas and management procedures.

  1. Is used antifreeze stored in drums, tanks or other containers that are in good condition? Open containers, and rusting or leaking containers cannot be used for antifreeze storage.
  2. Are antifreeze storage containers and tanks properly labeled? All waste antifreeze should be labeled “Waste Antifreeze Only,” and antifreeze that can be recycled or reused, should be marked “Usable Antifreeze Only.”
  3. Is the area around the used antifreeze storage containers free of releases? Releases must be stopped; the released material cleaned up and managed properly and reported to DEP.
  4. Is used antifreeze transported to a recovery facility by a certified transporter? Check your records and verify that all shipments of used antifreeze were removed from your property by a state certified transporter.
  5. Is oil, solvent or other materials mixed with used antifreeze? Verify that there are separate, clearly labeled containers for each type of material, and that used antifreeze is not mixed with used oil, solvents and other materials.

Best Management Practices (BMPs)

Most regulations tell you what you have to do to be in compliance, but they don’t explain how to do it. That’s where "best management practices" come into play. BMPs are proven methods that help you to get into compliance and stay there. The following BMPs are recommended for used antifreeze storage areas and management procedures.

  • Use separate equipment for the collection of used antifreeze (funnels, pads, storage containers).
  • Drain antifreeze from radiators and heater cores as soon as possible.
  • Keep waste antifreeze free from cross-contamination with other wastes, including used oil, fuels, degreasers or radiator flush chemicals.
  • Determine if the antifreeze is waste fluid or reusable and can be recycled.
  • Recycle by reuse, distillation, filtration or ion exchange. Recycling can be done on-site or off-site by an antifreeze recycling service.
  • Consider keeping antifreeze in two separate, closed containers: one for antifreeze that cannot be reused marked "Waste Antifreeze," and one marked "Usable Antifreeze."
  • Do not dispose of antifreeze down storm drains, in septic tanks, dry wells or on bare ground.
  • Keep any records relating to used antifreeze for at least 3 years. This includes receipts for used antifreeze shipments and any laboratory results.

Contacts

  1. For more information, contact the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection at
    617-338-2255 or 800-462-0444, or find a DEP Regional Service Center near you.
  2. To report a spill or leak, call the 24-Hour DEP Emergency Response hotline at 617-556-1133 or
    888-304-1133.
  3. To report an environmental incident or complaint, contact the Environmental Strike Force at
    617-556-1000 or 888-VIOLATE (1-888-846-5283).

Related ECAR Fact Sheets

  1. Hazardous Wastes

Other Related Resources

  1. Massachusetts Fact Sheet - The Very Small Quantity Generator of Hazardous Waste


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