Rules for Used Oil Generators

Used oil is a recyclable or reusable commodity. It may be re-refined for use or it may be burned in space heaters, so long as it is handled properly.

Waste oil is contaminated or off-specification oily waste that must be handled in accordance with the Dangerous Waste Rules.

Manage Dangerous Waste describes how to follow the Dangerous Waste Rules.

Know that you have used oil

Used oil is "any oil that has been refined from crude oil, or any synthetic oil, that has been used and as a result of such use is contaminated by physical or chemical impurities." Used oil cannot be contaminated with dangerous waste or with halogenated compounds or PCBs. Certain oily wastes can be managed as used oil even when they do not fit the used oil definition. For instance, oil filters that contain used oil may be managed under the used oil rule.

Wastes generated from high flash solvent parts washers, caustic dip tanks, etc. that become contaminated with an oily residue while cleaning engine parts are waste oil.

Used oil and waste oil describes more about what is and is not "used oil".

Materials that may or may not be managed as used oil in Washington State is an Ecology publication with more detailed information on which oily wastes qualify as used oil.

Used Oil Generators create used oil and may accept used oil from do-it-yourself (DIY) generators. They may not accept it from other commercial generators.

Handle used oil as required

Store used oil only in safe and solid tanks or containers, and physically inspect used-oil containers regularly. Keep all containers stored inside or under cover. Keep containers closed, except when adding or removing used oil. Handle containers safely so they do not leak or rupture. Be prepared to respond to spills by stopping, containing, and cleaning up the spill and making necessary repairs.

Label containers, tanks and associated pipes, "Used Oil".

Check the total halogen content of the used oil by using test methods such as Chlor-D-Tect. If it is over 1,000 parts per million, it is assumed to be mixed with dangerous waste and is no longer used oil. Do not mix anything into the used oil. If you do, it isn't used oil anymore, and it may even be dangerous waste.

Highly recommended: Store used oil in areas with secondary containment. Keep oil from do-it-yourselfers separate from your own used oil, in case something has been added to the DIY oil that would make it dangerous waste. Do not blend oils.

Hiring an oil recycler

Since proper handling and disposal of waste is the responsibility of the generator, it is important that you hire a reputable recycler.

Recycling Used Oil lists the registered used-oil recyclers and links to more information.

Transporting used oil

Know how your used oil will be recycled before it leaves your site. Know whether your used oil is prohibited from burning as used oil before it leaves your site.

You may transport used oil to a refiner yourself, as a used-oil generator. Take used oil to a used oil collection center or an aggregation point. You may take more than 55 gallons at a time to an approved collection center, as long as the collection center maintains records about the shipment.

If someone else carries your oil, they must follow transporter requirements. If you take someone else's used oil to any other site for refining, you must comply with the used oil transporter requirements as a transporter. If the oil is not going to be recycled, only a dangerous-waste transporter may carry it.

Best Management Practices for Used Oil Transporters & Transfer Facilities is an Ecology publication that describes requirements for Used Oil Transporters.

Burning used oil in space heaters

Used oil can be burned in space heaters, under certain conditions. Burn your own used oil, do-it-yourselfer oil, or used oil from off-site sources that have been tested and determined to be on-specification used oil prior to arriving on your site.

Waste oil cannot be burned. Never burn oil with more than 2 parts per million of PCBs. Do not burn metal-working oils with any amount of chlorinated compounds in the formulation.

Your space heater must be vented to the outside and must have a capacity of no more than 0.5 million British Thermal Units (BTUs) per hour.

Marketing used oil

If you take the used oil to someone outside of your company who then burns it, you are considered a marketer, and you must comply with the marketer requirements.

Used Oil Marketers are the first people to claim that the used oil meets the contamination limits or who directs the shipment of off-specification used oil directly to a burner. Marketers must notify Ecology.

Best Management Practices for Used Oil for Fuel Marketers is an Ecology publication that details the requirements for Used Oil Marketers.

Recordkeeping for Used Oil Generators

Generators don't have to keep any records, but it is wise to do so.


Related information

Standards for the management of used oil at WAC 173-303-515 presents an overview of the used oil requirements.

Definitions in WAC 173-303-040 defines used oil as any oil that has been refined from crude oil, or any synthetic oil, that has been used and as a result of such use is contaminated by physical or chemical impurities.