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Identify Waste by Sampling and Laboratory Analysis

Laboratory testing is sometimes required when knowledge and research about the waste and its component chemicals does not allow the waste to be fully designated.   

Sampling Wastes

Either the generator or a testing service can take the waste samples. If environmental clean-up is needed, the testing service should be independent from the remediation company that does the clean-up. Samples sent to a laboratory are excluded from manifesting and reporting requirements. 

The Dangerous Waste regulations regulate the test methods used for waste designation, but they do not give rules for sampling methodology—other than the requirement to take a representative sample for each waste to be tested. 

The methods and equipment used for obtaining representative samples of a waste will vary with the type and form of the waste. Samples taken by the methods listed in the regulations are considered presentative samples of the waste.

Excluded categories of waste is at WAC 173-303-071 in the Dangerous Waste Regulations and contains the exclusion for samples. Samples sent to a laboratory for testing do not have to be manifested or reported as dangerous waste.

Sampling Demolition Debris for Dangerous Waste discusses procedures for this hard-to-sample waste stream.

Find a Testing Laboratory

Ecology’s Hazardous Waste and Toxics Reduction Program (HWTR) does not certify or give accreditation to laboratories that perform dangerous waste designation analysis.

Choosing an Analytical Laboratory for Dangerous Waste Testing is an Ecology publication that offers tips for choosing a lab.

Dangerous Waste Test Methods

Sampling, testing methods, and analytes at WAC 173-303-110 in the Dangerous Waste Regulations includes the required for testing dangerous waste.

The Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure Test (TCLP) is used for testing toxicity characteristic wastes. This test measures how likely it is that toxic chemicals will leach out of a waste in acidic landfill conditions. If the waste exceeds threshold TCLP levels for characteristic chemicals, the waste is a dangerous waste. 

Related information

Sampling, testing methods, and analytes is at WAC 173-303-110 in the Dangerous Waste Regulations.

Biological Testing Methods 80-12 for the Designation of Dangerous Waste is an Ecology publication that describes fish and rat toxicity testing.

Chemical Test Methods for Designating Dangerous Waste is an Ecology manual on choosing and conducting methods for the chemical testing of suspected dangerous wastes.

Waste Identification is an Environmental Protection Agency site offering guidance on designating Federal Hazardous Waste. Washington state rules are similar, but includes state-only wastes.

Test Methods is an Environmental Protection Agency site with resources about testing waste.

Designation of dangerous waste  is at WAC 173-303-070 of the Dangerous Waste Regulations.

Excluded categories of waste is at WAC 173-303-071 of the Dangerous Waste Regulations.

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 Waste Regulations.

Dangerous waste criteria is at WAC 173-303-100 of the Dangerous Waste Regulations.