How to Choose a Hazardous Waste or Used Oil Contractor - A Help Guide

Facts about Financial Assurance

The main purpose of financial responsibility requirements is to assure that funds will be available to pay for the safe and orderly closure of facilities. This includes, for example, removing and properly disposing wastes in tanks or containers, or decontaminating structures and equipment used to hold hazardous wastes.

There are two aspects of “financial responsibility,” third party liability coverage for pollution resulting from accidents or releases at the facility and financial assurance for facility closure/ post-closure.

TSDFs that are subject to hazardous waste permitting and used oil and recycling facilities must provide both of these types of financial backing, including:

Pollution liability coverage to pay financial claims made against the facility for bodily harm or property damage related to the management of hazardous waste. The minimum dollar value of liability coverage required for the storage and treatment facilities in Washington is $1 million per incident or $2 million total;

Closure funding must be provided based on a detailed plan and cost estimates to cleanup the facility at the end of its useful life or sooner due to sale, bankruptcy, or some other event. The closure plans must be based upon the maximum inventory of wastes that could be held in the permitted units and must estimate waste removal, and decontamination of structures and equipment by a contractor (not facility staff).

(For more information on financial assurance mechanisms check out this table.)

As a consumer you can make choices based on concern about liability. Ask if the company has any sort of financial safety net that keeps you, the customer, from paying for accidental spills and other surprises. Using the information on the previous page and on the financial mechanism comparison table you can decide how comfortable you are with the answers.

As a potential client you should be concerned about how your contractor contains and responds to spills and releases, and whether any safety nets are in place that would protect you from liability for cleaning up a site if it suddenly closes or goes bankrupt.

For more specific information on evaluating TSDFs, hazardous waste recyclers, and used oil processors click on Advanced Topics