Sampling Building Debris for Dangerous Waste
It is often difficult to tell if demolition debris is dangerous waste.
Debris suspected of being dangerous waste, but sampling methods vary depending
on circumstances. Dangerous Waste testing regulations do not regulate how many
waste samples to take or where to take them as long as the samples are representative.
A "representative sample" is defined in the "Definitions" section of
Dangerous Waste Regulations in
WAC 173–303-040 as "a sample which can be expected to exhibit the
average properties of the sample source."
The following sampling plans for Dangerous Waste disposal are suggested ways
to obtain samples from buildings to be demolished. The Dangerous Waste
regulations regulate the test methods used for waste designation, but they do
not regulate the methods used to take test samples, other than the requirement
to take a representative sample.
Sampling Plans for Demolition Debris
There are six options that may be used. Click the links below to learn
more about each method:
- Screen, Sample and Segregate X-ray fluorescence (XRF) equipment is used to identify parts of the
building with high lead levels (100 parts per million or greater).
Then, samples taken from these areas are tested by the Toxicity
Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) method, and those
building components identified as hazardous are set aside for dangerous
- Screen and Segregate Similar to the above, XRF field screening identifies building
components with high lead levels. Those areas with high lead levels are disposed as dangerous waste.
This plan avoids the expense of TCLP testing.
- Composite Sample and Demolish
This plan is typically used where it is strongly suspected that the
entire quantity of debris will not be dangerous waste. Composite samples are obtained by taking sub-samples of each
building component, which are then proportionately combined into one
composite sample for TCLP analysis.
- Remove, Cut and Sample
This is used in cases where small amounts of debris will be
disposed. Like items are removed and sawn into short lengths. The sawdust is mixed proportionately into one composite sample for
- Screen and Calculate Lead Concentration This method involves using mass balance calculations to calculate
the concentration of lead in the entire quantity of debris.
- Demolish and Test After building demolition representative samples are taken of the
debris and TCLP tested. This method is not recommended by Ecology,
but it may be required in situations where the building is demolished
before it can be sampled.
Identify and Designate Waste
Washington Dangerous Waste Designation Tool is a downloadable Excel
spreadsheet that can walk a generator through the process of assigning waste
codes to dangerous waste.
Designation of dangerous waste
is at WAC 173-303-070 of the Dangerous Waste Regulations.
Sampling, testing methods, and analytes is at WAC 173-303-110 in the
Dangerous Waste Regulations.
Excluded Categories of Waste is at WAC 173-303-071 of the Dangerous
Procedures and bases for exempting and excluding wastes
is at WAC 173-303-072 of the Dangerous Waste Regulations.
Dangerous waste characteristics is at WAC 173-303-090 of the Dangerous
Dangerous waste criteria is at WAC 173-303-100 of the Dangerous Waste