Waste Programs Division: Solid Waste Management: Used Oil
Table of Contents
Differences Between the State and Federal Regulatory Programs Used Oil Specifications
What Is Used Oil? When Used Oil Is Regulated as a Hazardous Waste
Where Does Used Oil Come From? When Used Oil Is Regulated as a TSCA Waste
Who Handles Used Oil? ADEQ's Sampling Program for Testing Used Oil
Prohibited Practices Requirements for Tanks Storing Used Oil
Where Can I Take My Used Oil? Marketer's Certification
Types of Collection Facilities Periodic Reporting Requirements for Used Oil Handlers
Registration of Used Oil Collection Centers

How Arizona's Used Oil Regulatory Program Differs from the Federal Regulatory Program

When the Arizona legislature adopted the federal regulations for managing used oil, it determined that some additional regulatory provisions were needed to meet Arizona's needs. These additional provisions are summarized below.

Definitions

In addition to the definitions in 40 CFR 279, the following definitions also apply:

  • Used oil includes oil that becamecontaminated as a result of its handling, transportation, or storage
  • Off-specification used oil means used oil which exceeds any of the allowable levels in 40 CFR 279.11
  • On-specification Used Oil means used oil that is not of-specification used oil
  • For an explanation of the off-specification and on-specification used oil, see Used Oil Specifications

Used Oil Collection Centers

A used oil collection center, as defined in 40 CFR 279, is required to register with ADEQ, which will issue an identification number to each registrant.

Marketer's Certification

A marketer must provide certification to a burner that it is selling on-specification used oil fuel to the burner. A burner who relies on a marketer's certification that the marketer's used oil meets the used oil specifications is not criminally liable for burning off-specification used oil fuel that the marketer certified as on-specification.

Periodic Reports

Each calendar quarter, each used oil transporter, processor, and marketer is required to submit a written report to ADEQ about its used oil activities for the preceding calendar quarter. Each year, each used oil burner is required to submit a written report to ADEQ about its used oil activities for the preceding calendar year. All client lists and related identifying information contained in these periodic reports are treated as confidential.

Labeling

Any tank that stores on-spec on-specification used oil is required to be labeled with the words "on-specification used oil."

Testing

ADEQ shall collect samples of used oil to determine compliance with the used oil specifications, as part of its quality assurance/quality compliance program.

Household Do-It-Yourselfer Used Oil Generators (DIYers)

A DIYer is required to send his used oil to a DIY collection center, a household hazardous waste collection center, a used oil collection center, a used oil marketer or a used oil processor/refiner.

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What Is Used Oil?Used Motor Oil

Used oil is any oil that has been refined from crude oil, or any synthetic oil that has been used, handled, transported, or stored, and as a result of such use, handling, transportation, or storage, is contaminated by physical or chemical impurities, and is no longer suitable for its originally intended purpose.

  • Used oil includes motor oils, metalworking fluids, emulsions, transmission fluids, brake fluids, coolants, heating media, refrigeration oils, electrical oils, buoyants, and hydraulic fluids
  • Used oil does not include antifreeze, cleaning agents, and animal and vegetable oils
  • Gasoline, jet, and diesel fuels are not used oil; however, if mixed with used oil, these fuels must be regulated as used oil
  • Used oil is presumed to be recyclable. If it is not recyclable, it is waste oil.
    • The U.S. EPA considers burning of used oil for energy recovery to be a form of recycling. In Arizona, most used oil is burned for energy recovery. Two common examples of devices in which used oil is burned for energy recovery are space heaters and asphalt hot plants.
    • For more information regarding ways used oil can be recycled, see Managing Used Oil: Advice for Small Businesses on the U.S. EPA's website.

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Where Does Used Oil Come From?

Used oil is generated from many different sources. The most common sources are listed below:

  • Household do-it-yourselfers
    • A person who generates used oil from personally maintaining your personal vehicles and equipment, is a household do-it-yourselfer (DIYer) used oil generator.
  • Automotive maintenance facilities
    • When an automotive maintenance facility changes oil it often charges a small fee to dispose of the used oil. The description of this fee on the invoice is variously referred to as a used oil disposal fee, an EPA fee, an environmental fee, etc. There is currently no state law requiring or authorizing this fee. A company may charge whatever fee it deems is appropriate to offset the costs it incurs for a transporter to pick up the used oil.
  • Manufacturing companies
  • Electric generating stations
  • Mining/smelter operations
  • Air conditioning repair facilities
  • Plus many other types of businesses

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Who Handles Used Oil?

Used oil handlers fall into the following categories: generators; transporters/transfer facilities; processors/re-refiners; marketers; and burners.

  • Generators: Virtually everyone who performs maintenance on their personal vehicle or machinery is a used oil generator. Used oil generators fall into two categories -- unregulated and regulated.
    • Unregulated: Do-It-Yourselfers (DIYers) are exempt from the regulatory provisions that apply to regulated used oil generators with the exceptions of the prohibited practices and where a DIYer may take used oil. Therefore, DIYers are referred to as unregulated used oil generators.
      • For an explanation of who is a DIYer, see Where Does Used Oil Come from?
      • For a list of what unregulated generators may not do with used oil, see Prohibited Practices.
      • An unregulated generator is required to take used oil to either a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) collection center, a household hazardous waste collection center, a used oil collection center, a used oil marketer, a used oil processor, or a re-refiner.
    • Regulated: All other used oil generators, including businesses, private organizations, school maintenance facilities, and municipal maintenance facilities are regulated used oil generators subject to the regulatory provisions for used oil management under A.R.S. §§ 49-801, 49-803, 40 CFR 279.12 and 40 CFR 279.82.
  • Transporters: Anyone who collects or accepts used oil from regulated handlers of used oil, such as generators, other transporters, processors/re-refiners and burners, and transports that used oil to another facility, is a used oil transporter or transfer facility, subject to regulation under the state statutes.
    • A regulated generator may self-transport up to 55 gallons of self-generated used oil to an off-site facility, without being subject to the used oil transporter requirements.
    • On-site transportation by a regulated generator is unregulated.
  • Processors: Anyone who processes used oil by chemical or physical operations designed to make the used oil more amenable for production of fuel oils, lubricants or other used oil-derived products, is a used oil processor/re-refiner, subject to regulation under the state statutes.
  • Marketers: Anyone who markets used oil, or first claims that used oil that is to be burned for energy recovery meets the used oil fuel specifications, is a used oil marketer, subject to regulation under the state statutes.
  • Burners: Anyone who burns used oil for energy recovery, such as in an asphalt hot plant, is a used oil burner, subject to regulation under the state statutes.
    • Generators who burn self-generated used oil, or used oil from DIYers, in an on-site oil-fired space heater may be exempt from the used oil regulations provided:
      • they only burn used oil from household do-it-yourself used oil generators;
      • their heater has a maximum capacity of not more than 0.5 million BTU per hour; and
      • the combustion gases from the heater are vented to the ambient air.

Please be advised that these generators may still be subject to air quality permitting requirements.

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Prohibited Practices

  • Used oil cannot be discharged into sewers or waters of the state without a permit issued by an appropriate regulatory authority.
  • Used oil cannot be incinerated, except at a facility authorized to incinerate hazardous wastes.
  • Used oil cannot be used as a dust suppressant or contact herbicide.
  • Used oil cannot be disposed on land, except in a landfill that has an approved solid waste facility plan (i.e., meets the criterion established in 40 CFR, Parts 257 or 258).
  • Used oil cannot be stored in a surface impoundment.

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Where Can I Take My Used Oil?Recycling Used Motor Oil

Once used oil is generated, it must be handled in an environmentally responsible manner. A used oil generator has some choices.

  • A person who generates used oil from maintaining personal vehicles and equipment (DIYer), must take the used oil to one of the following facilities: a DIY collection center; a household hazardous waste collection center or collection area; a used oil collection center; a used oil marketer; a used oil processor; or a re-refiner. A DIYer may also burn their own used oil, and other DIYers' oil as well, in an on-site, oil-fired space heater.
  • If used oil is generated through business activities the business is a regulated generator. A regulated generator may self-transport 55 gallons or less of its own used oil to any of the facilities discussed above, except a DIY collection center. If a regulated generator has more than 55 gallons of used oil, it may have a used oil transporter pick up its used oil or you may burn self-generated used oil in an on-site oil-fired space heater. A regulated generator may burn DIYer used oil as well, but may not burn used oil generated by other regulated generators.
  • Transporters/transfer facilities, processors, marketers, and burners must use used oil transporters to pick up used oil from, or deliver used oil to, their facilities.

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Types of Collection Facilities

In general, facilities that accept used oil may be divided into two categories -- those that accept large quantities (more than 55 gallons) of used oil, and those that accept small quantities (55 gallons or less) of used oil. Operations by transporters, transfer facilities, processors and marketers are typically geared for dealing with bulk quantities of used oil. Facilities that accept only the smaller quantities of used oil are generally referred to as collection facilities, and may be subdivided into the following three classifications:

  • Household do-it-yourselfer (DIYer) collection center
  • Used oil collection center (registration required)
  • Used oil aggregation point.

A DIY collection center is a facility that can only accept used oil from DIYers. DIY collection centers are not required to register with ADEQ. Operators of this type of facility usually impose some restrictions, such as a 5-gallon limit, on DIYers who use their facility. Although the DIYers who bring their used oil to a DIY used oil collection center are unregulated generators of used oil, the DIY collection center itself is a regulated used oil generator. Since DIY collection centers are not required to register with ADEQ, ADEQ does not maintain a list of these facilities. Typical examples of DIY collection centers include automotive retail stores and service stations that accept used oil from DIYers, but not from businesses.

A used oil collection center is a facility that accepts used oil from regulated used oil generators such as businesses, school and municipal maintenance facilities. Although by law the maximum size of each individual load of used oil that may be accepted by this type of facility is 55 gallons, many such facilities impose a smaller per-load limit. This type of facility must register with ADEQ. A used oil collection center may accept used oil from DIYers. This type of facility is classified as a regulated used oil generator.

A used oil aggregation point is a facility that accepts used oil from satellite, field, or regional facilities, which it also owns, operates, or controls. Used oil aggregation points are not required to register with ADEQ. This type of facility is classified as a regulated used oil generator. Since used oil aggregation points are not required to register with ADEQ, ADEQ does not maintain a list of these facilities. The maximum size of each individual load of used oil that may be accepted by this type of facility is 55 gallons. A used oil aggregation point cannot accept used oil from regulated used oil generators that are owned or operated by other entities, however, a used oil aggregation point may accept used oil from DIYers. The following scenarios illustrate this type of facility.

  • A company is headquartered at a certain location, with a large maintenance facility. The company also has a number of field offices located in the surrounding geographical area, each with its own maintenance facility.
  • A company owns a fleet of mobile field maintenance vehicles to service vehicles in the field. Used oil that is generated by the mobile fleet is brought to the company headquarters and aggregated in one storage tank.

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Registration of Used Oil Collection Centers

A facility that accepts small quantities of used oil (55 gallons or less per individual load) from regulated generators is required by law to register with ADEQ. There is no fee for registration. The registration is good for the life of the facility, but is not transferable from one location to another.

To register a facility as a used oil collection center, submit a completed application form to ADEQ. To obtain an application form, download the form below or contact the Used Oil Program Coordinator. Return completed forms to the Used Oil Program Coordinator by mail, e-mail or fax.

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Used Oil Specifications

Most used oil in Arizona is burned as a substitute fuel for energy recovery. Because it has been used, used oil may contain many more contaminants than virgin oil. Because it may contain more contaminants in higher concentrations than virgin oil, there is a potential that more contaminants could be released into the atmosphere from burning used oil, than from burning a virgin oil or other cleaner-burning fuel.

The U.S. EPA has determined that only certain contaminants pose significant threat to public health or the environment. As a result, the U.S. EPA has established limits for the maximum concentrations for the contaminants of concern. These limits were set such that the emissions from burning used oil containing these contaminants, at or below these limits, will pose no more threat to public health or the environment than the emissions from burning a cleaner-burning fuel, such as virgin oil or diesel.

The maximum contaminant concentrations, including a limit on the minimum flashpoint (a safety consideration) that a used oil fuel may have, are referred to as the used oil specifications.

Used Oil Specifications
Constituent/PropertyAllowable Level
Arsenic*5 ppm or less
Cadmium*2 ppm or less
Chromium*10 ppm or less
Lead*100 ppm or less
Flashpoint100° or more
PCBsless than 2 ppm
Total Halogens**1000 ppm or less

* Note: This specification is for Total Metals, not Total Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP).
** Note: Only for total halogen concentrations 1000 ppm or more for which the presumption of mixing has been successfully rebutted.

Used oil that meets all the specifications is referred to as on-specification used oil. Used oil that does not meet all the specifications is referred to as off-specification used oil, except when either of the following two conditions apply:

  • PCBs are 50 ppm or more: This used oil is regulated as a toxic waste under the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA), or 40 CFR 761.
    • For more information about when used oil is regulated as a TSCA waste, refer to When Used Oil Is Regulated as a TSCA Waste.
  • Total Halogens exceed 1000 ppm: This used oil may be regulated as a hazardous waste under 40 CFR, Parts 260 through 266, 268, 270, and 124.

In Arizona, an air quality permit is required any time burning is to take place in a commercial or industrial application. Among other things, the air quality permit will specify which fuels may be burned and the maximum contaminant emissions allowed. Permits which allow burning used oil typically specify the cleaner-burning on-specification used oil. If a facility were to elect to burn off-specification used oil, it would have to demonstrate that it is capable of cleaning up the resulting emissions to meet applicable air quality standards.

For more information about air quality permits in Arizona, contact the following agencies:

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When Used Oil Is Regulated as a Hazardous Waste

Used oil often contains halogens, many of which are listed hazardous wastes. In many instances, the presence of halogens in the used oil is the result of mixing with chlorinated solvents. The U.S. EPA has determined that used oil containing 1000 ppm or less total halogens is not a hazardous waste. Used oil containing 4000 ppm total halogens is a hazardous waste subject to regulation under 40 CFR, Parts 260 through 266, 268, 270, and 124. For used oil containing total halogen concentrations between 1000 ppm and 4000 ppm, the U.S. EPA has said it must be presumed that the used oil has been mixed with a list halogenated hazardous waste, but the U.S. EPA allows the used oil handler to rebut the presumption of mixing, by demonstrating that the used oil has not been mixed with a listed halogenated hazardous waste. The demonstration may be made by testing the used oil with an analytical method from SWS-846, Edition III, such as U.S. EPA Method 8021, or by applying knowledge of the halogen content of the used oil in light of the materials and processes used.

The Rebuttable Presumption

This concept of presuming that used oil containing more than 1000 ppm total halogens may be a hazardous waste by virtue of having been mixed with a listed hazardous waste, and that this presumption may be rebutted by showing that it does not contain hazardous waste, is referred to as the rebuttable presumption. The rebuttable presumption applies to any regulated used oil handler in possession of used oil with a total halogen concentration above 1000 ppm.

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When Used Oil is Regulated as a TSCA Waste

Although PCBs have been banned for most applications, they are still occasionally encountered. PCBs are regulated under the federal regulations for the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) at 40 CFR 761. How used oil containing PCBs is regulated depends upon the concentration of PCBs in the used oil. Used oil containing less than the quantifiable level of 2 ppm PCBs is not regulated as a TSCA waste, but rather as used oil under 40 CFR 279. Used oil containing 50 ppm or more PCBs is regulated as a TSCA waste. For used oil containing PCB concentrations of 2 ppm or more, but less than 50 ppm, TSCA requires the used oil to be handled in the same manner as off-specification used oil. However, if the used oil is to be burned, the PCBs must be completely destroyed.

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ADEQ'S Sampling Program for Testing Used Oil

ADEQ conducts a used oil sampling program for testing used oil. One of the primary reasons for this testing program is to protect air quality. The emissions from burning an on-specification used oil are cleaner than those from burning off-specification used oil and, are considered to be environmentally safe and no threat to public health.

In light of this, the sampling program focuses on the used oil producers/suppliers and burners. This ensures that used oil processors/marketers supply used oil burners with only on-specification used oil (refer to used oil specifications), and that used oil burners burn only on-specification used oil.

Used oil generators are not sampled because the emphasis of the sampling program is on the on-specification used oil producers and users. On occasion, however, the department will sample transporters to monitor the quality of used oil being collected from used oil generators.

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Requirements for Tanks Storing Used Oil

All regulated handlers of used oil are subject to the following minimum requirements for the tanks in which they store used oil:

  • Tanks must be designed for, or capable of, storing used oil safely.
  • Tanks must be in good condition with no severe rusting, apparent structural defects or deterioration.
  • Tanks must not be leaking (no visible leaks).
  • Tanks (and fill pipes to underground tanks) must be labeled with the words "Used Oil."
  • Upon detection of a release of used oil to the environment, the tank owner/operator must stop the release, contain the released used oil, clean up and properly manage the released used oil and other materials used for the cleanup, and repair or replace the defective tank/tank component(s).

In addition to the above requirements, the following requirements also apply:

  • Used oil marketers and burners are required to label all tanks for storing on-specification used oil with the words "On-Specification Used Oil."
  • Used oil transporters, processors, marketers, and off-specification used oil burners are required to have secondary containment with the capacity to contain 110 percent of the volume of the largest tank in the containment area. (While secondary containment is not required for on-specification used oil burner tanks, it is recommended.)

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Marketer's Certification

A marketer who sells used oil to a used oil burner is required to provide the burner with a certification attesting that the used oil being sold is on-specification used oil (refer to used oil specifications). A used oil burner who, in good faith, relies on a marketer's certification, is not criminally liable for burning off-specification used oil that the marketer has certified as on-specification.

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Periodic Reporting Requirements for Used Oil Handlers

Used oil transporters, processors, marketers, and burners are required to submit periodic written reports to ADEQ about their used oil activities. All information about client names and related identifying data, which is required to be submitted to ADEQ, is treated as confidential. Forms for reporting used oil activities are available from the department. An alternative report form is allowed, so long as all the required information is included.

Used oil transporters, processors, and marketers are required to submit quarterly reports for each calendar quarter. These reports are due 30 days after the end of the calendar quarter to which the reports apply.

Used oil burners are required to submit annual reports for each year. These reports are due on February 1 following the end of the calendar year to which the reports apply.

To receive a used oil report form contact the Used Oil Program Coordinator, or download a form:

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