View Full Version : Hazardous Materials Question

11-20-2003, 09:08 PM
Another "just curious" question that came to mind...

Have you in the course of your work, unexpectedly run into any "hazardous material"? If so, was it handled properly?

Obviously, HAZMAT items come in many forms. Abandoned storage tanks, even though empty, can no longer simply be dug up and hauled away. There's plenty of old roofing shingles that contain asbestos, and they might turn up anywhere there was once a building. Then there's goodness knows what else buried out there that's even worse.

Two instances of which I have personal knowledge...

I personally know of one storage tank that's still in the ground because it wasn't quite in the way of the work being done. It's got to be between 50 and 75 years old by now, and although I can't say for sure, I think it's probably about a 1000 gallon tank that once held gasoline. By rights, it should've been removed when it was found, but it wasn't, and that was at a time (20+ years ago) that it would've been a lot less carefully regulated and watched than today.

It wasn't a job that involved heavy equipment, but about that long ago I was asked to remove some heating pipe from the basement of a building. It was wrapped with insulation. I was suspicious about what excatly the insulating material was, so I asked. I was assured that it wasn't asbestos--all the asbestos had been removed from the building. I wasn't convinced, so I took a sample to a lab and confirmed that I was right--it was asbestos. Further discussion revealed that the owner had understood that it had all been removed, when the fact was that it had been "either removed or encapsulated". That's quite a difference, when you start ripping into that old piping. We left it alone.

11-21-2003, 02:59 AM

absolutely . Not so much today , but it was almost common to bury anything concidered garbage . Old oily rags , used oil , buggy or grader tires , etc. Most of the supervisors I've worked for in the past have always had a " don't see ,don't tell attitude ." things are changing fast , but it seems to go in cycles . Economy good = anything remotely hazardous goes to dump . Economy slow = save money and bury what you can . I'm not proud of it , and would refuse if I thought it was really serious , but I've seen my share of it . I'm not going into specifics here though .


04-24-2005, 10:30 AM
Times have changed and so have waste disposal regulations. Definitions of hazardous wastes have also changed.
The E.P.A. and E.P.D. websites have information about what can be buried and where. The also give suggestions about techniques to employ when burying in legal areas and explain what these legal areas are and what materials qualify for burial and are excluded.

If you find illegally buried or hazardous waste on any site on which you are involved, it is best to advise the authorities to avoid the possibility that you will be held responsible for it later.
We all have to balance favors for the boss against possible fines. If you ever go to court and expect a developer to admit he knew you buried something under his instruction, use the Easter Bunny for a lawyer, you're already in a fantasy world.

are you hinting that theres spoiled doughnuts under the Stampede parking lot, eh?

Osborne ent.
01-31-2007, 09:24 AM
I am from SW Virginia and have plenty of expierience with the {DEQ**. Last year I pulled 4-3000 gallon ust's and also have a gas station with my own tanks. In the COMMONWEATH if a tank has been the ground before the regs came out it falls under the grandfather rule. Which means in lamens terms unless there is a direct problems related to this tanks the DEQ will not deal with them. This could be different in the city and other jurisdictions. If there is a natural source of flowing water near the site then its a whole nother ball game. Because there is no tolerance for contamination. (Monitoring Wells). $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. The best thing in my opinion the less you know about a Potential hazmat site the better.

Bob Horrell
01-31-2007, 09:53 PM
You know what has always seemed odd to me. Old railroad ties are used for a number of applications unrelated to railroads. When they decided that creosote was a hazardous material, you would think that the price of railroad ties would decrease because of the cost of disposal if not used for something else. The price never decreased.

01-31-2007, 10:23 PM
use the Easter Bunny for a lawyer, you're already in a fantasy world.


02-01-2007, 02:53 AM
I tore down an old meth house a few weeks ago that had an old oil tank and some misc old gas cans and such, we had a company come haul it away for us. I believe the police took care of anything dangerous inside related to making the meth, the house sat for a few months after the bust. Everything else went straight into 100yard cans and to the local transfer station. we took 6 cans out of there for a 2 maybe 3 bedroom one story house, and two small aluminum sheds. I couldnt believe how much junk these people had crammed into that house. to say it was disgusting would be putting it nicely. Had to wear a respirator just because of the smell at times.

Dwan Hall
02-01-2007, 07:42 AM
Here the city thught they would be smart and gave the fire department permition to burn down a meth lab. DEC got wind (no pun intended) of it and shut them down. There are no 10 yd cans here so they put the complete house in 55 gal drums and sent them south at tax payers expence.

What do I do if I find haz on site. I do what I am told unless I think it is a danger then I notify the department who would have a concern. Let them take over control and eather get a po# for them to pick up the tab or I leave the area.

Ford LT-9000
02-02-2007, 02:02 AM
The rules and regulations for enviromental rules is strict in B.C. too. They will nail homeowners too. The big thing they will get a homeowner for is burying drywall that is seriously illegal. The fine is roughly 575 dollars for ever offence on your property.

If your a commercial property and you get reported for oil spills you will have to have you property enviromentally tested which means drilling for core samples. If they find some poluted soil the area has to be excavated out the soil around it treated. The contaminated soil gets trucked to a cerfied landfill site (expensive) because the dump truck company has to be certified for hauling hazmat. The dirt needs a manifest and paper work.

We have a gas station site that has been vacant for 10 years now because of ground contamination. The owners lost everything the costs to clean up the site was more than they could afford. Back in the early 60s when the station was opened it was common to dump used oil on the ground. Over 20-30 years the ground was contaminated.

Not many buried home heating oil tanks they are all above ground so home owners don't have to worry about that. Most have gone to propane its cheaper than stove oil.

Another thing homeowners or contractors get nailed for is using tires to start burn piles. It used to be common practice in the early years get caught today doing that your in big troubles. The enviro inspector looks for the steel in your burn pile if they find that you could kiss your business license good bye.

02-02-2007, 09:50 AM
As far as tanks underground, I'm not completely convinced that they pose a real danger. Just because many of these things are defined as haz mat doesn't mean that they really are. I think if I had a shallow well right next to a potentially leaky tank I'd be concerned, but my understanding is that petroleum based products eventually clean themselves up. The microorganisms in the ground eat it. Doesn't happen over night of course.

I think heavy metals like lead are more of a concern, but then again they used to spray arsenic on all the citrus and that never really did anything to us that we know of and people wo live next to old grove property that was sprayed with arsenic for years don't seem to have any problems.

When we bought the property for our new factory we got over 2 tons of illegally dumped tires out of the little pond when we started digging it deeper for a retention pond. County hauled them away for free which was nice of them. One still popps up every once in a while though and we just let it lay. Pond has since been deemed Lake Michelin.