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ECAR Fact Sheet for Maryland
Used Oil Filters

Oil Filter

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


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

To dispose of used oil filters, you need to drain out the used oil thoroughly first.  The oil can then be handled with the rest of your used oil (see the ECAR Used Oil Fact Sheet). What you do with the drained filter will depend on your location.  As a rule, you can't put them in the trash -- it is illegal in Maryland to put used oil filters in a landfill, drained or otherwise. Under some special circumstances, if your trash hauler delivers trash to an incinerator, you can make a special arrangement with them to take the filters. But you need to get their agreement in writing. Your waste oil processor may also accept the filters.


The state of Maryland does not consider used oil filters to be a hazardous waste if the following management procedures are adhered to:

  • The filter has not been mixed with any substance that is considered a hazardous waste;
  • The filter has been drained by initiating the draining with the oil near operating temperature and conducting the draining in an environment warmer than 60°F;
  • The filter has been punctured and drained, or drained followed by crushing the filter, or dismantling then draining the filter; or
  • The filter has been allowed to drain by gravity for at least 12 hours.

Disposal Restrictions. Maryland law prohibits disposal of used oil filters in a landfill or in any trash destined for a landfill. If your local disposal company sends its collected refuse to a waste-to-energy plant (an incinerator used to burn municipal solid waste and make electricity), you may be able to obtain written permission from them to dispose of your drained oil filters in the trash. Otherwise, used oil filters must be either recycled or disposed of through a state registered used oil filter processor.

Storage. Used oil filters must be stored in above ground containers which are clearly labeled "Used Oil Filters," and which are in good condition. The storage containers must be protected from weather and stored on an oil impermeable surface.

Spill Control. If an oil spill occurs as a result of draining or handling used oil filters, you must perform the following cleanup steps:

  1. Stop the release;
  2. Contain the released used oil;
  3. Clean up and properly manage the released used oil and other materials; and
  4. If necessary, repair or replace any leaking used oil storage containers or tanks prior to returning them to service.
  5. Report the spill to 1-866-633-4686 within 2 hours.

If you store used oil filters outdoors, the storage area must be addressed in your Spill Prevention and Countermeasures (SPCC) Plan (see ECAR Fact Sheet Spill Prevention and Countermeasures (SPCC) Plan).

Used Oil Filter Transport. When you send used oil filters off-site, they must be transported by a state certified transporter. Check with your MDE district office or MDE Hazardous Waste Program at 410-537-3345 for a current list of approved transporters.

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

Code of Maryland Regulation on Management of Used Oil Filter

Standards for the Management of Used Oil, Code of Federal Regulations, 40 CFR Part 279

Self-Audit Checklist

When an inspector comes to your facility, there are certain things they check 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 used oil storage areas and management procedures.

  1. Are used oil filters transported to a recovery facility by a certified transporter? Check your records and verify that all shipments of used oil filters were removed from your property by a state certified transporter. You can check on your transporter's certification by contacting MDE.

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 oil filter management.

  • Used oil filters should be punctured and drained for 24 hours. "Hot draining" improves the drainage process.
  • Used oil filters can be recycled through a state registered used oil filter processor.
  • Before shipping used oil filters off-site, consider crushing drained filters to reduce transportation costs.
  • Put oil drained from filters into your "Used Oil" container.
  • Maintain storage containers in good condition, indoors, protected from weather or sealed/closed, on an oil-impermeable surface.
  • Before contracting a transporter for your used oil filters, ask them questions about their service to reduce your liability.
  • Maintain disposal/recycling receipts for at least 3 years.


  1. For information on regulatory requirements associated with hazardous waste, call the MDE Hazardous Waste Program at 410-537-3345. 
  2. For compliance information, contact 410-537-3442.
  3. To report oil spills, contact 1-866-633-4686 (Available 24 hours a day).
  4. MDE Oil Control Program at 410-537-3412.

Related ECAR Fact Sheets

  1. Used Oil.

Other Relevant Resources

  1. MDE's Hazardous Waste Program Webpage
  2. Waste Diversion in Maryland
  3. Waste Permit Applications and Instructions
  4. MDE's Oil Control Program - Oil Pollution & Tank Management
  5. Maryland Recycling Market Directory


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