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Dyes and Pigments Frequent Questions

Why did EPA issue a final hazardous waste listing determination rule for the dyes and/or pigments production wastes?

The 1984 amendments to RCRA and a consent decree between EPA and Environmental Defense Fund (now Environmental Defense) required listing determinations on wastes from the production of certain classes of dyes and pigments. The Kl8l listing is EPA's final obligation under the consent decree.

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What wastes from the production of dyes and pigments are covered by the K181 listing?

K181 wastes come from the manufacturing of the following product classes: dyes, pigments, or Food and Drug Administration (FDA) certified colors that are classified as azo, triarylmethane, perylene or anthraquinone classes. Wastes that are not generated at a dyes and/or pigments manufacturing site, such as wastes from the off-site use, formulation, and packaging of dyes and/or pigments, are excluded.

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What other actions has EPA taken to list waste from the production of dyes and pigments prior to the last proposal?

In 1994 and 1999, EPA proposed two listing determinations for wastes from the manufacturing of organic dyes and pigments. The data on which these proposals were based contained proprietary business information that could not be released due to a court injunction. EPA did not take final action on either of these proposals. The Agency issued a new proposal in 2003 based on publicly available information and using a newly developed listing approach. The 2003 proposal and this final rule completely supersede the prior 1994 and 1999 proposals.

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What dyes and pigments production wastes is EPA listing (or not listing) as hazardous wastes in the final rule, and how does this compare to what was included in the proposed rule?

The final rule, as under the proposed rule, lists nonwastewaters from the production of dyes and/or pigments as hazardous wastes. Waste that contains less than the specified threshold levels of constituents of concern are not hazardous (e.g., aniline levels below 9,300 kg/yr).

In addition, the final rule, as under the proposed rule, includes an exemption for waste sent for disposal in landfills that meet specific design standards. EPA did not include a listing limit for one of the eight proposed constituents of concern (toluene-2,4-diamine) because the available data, along with information provided by commenters, show that this constituent is rarely used and is highly unlikely to be present in these wastes. Furthermore, an exemption for waste treated in an approved combustion unit was also included in the final rule.

Waste that does not qualify for the above exemptions and that meets or exceeds the specified thresholds for any of the specific constituents of concern must be managed as listed hazardous waste K181.

Finally, as under the proposed rule, this rule also makes a final determination not to list wastewaters from the production of dyes and/or pigments as hazardous.

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What is the listing approach used in the final rule?

EPA has used a mass loading-based approach to list wastes from the production of dyes and/or pigments. Under this approach, these wastes are hazardous if they contain any of the constituents of concern at annual mass loading levels that meet or exceed the regulatory levels. All wastes that contain constituents of concern up to the regulatory levels would be considered nonhazardous.

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Why is a mass loadings-based approach being used for this listing?

This approach is a risk-based approach that focuses on the total quantities of key chemicals in a waste each calendar year. This approach is more flexible and less burdensome for the waste generator, yet still protective of human health and the environment.

The annual mass loading levels (regulatory levels) for the constituents of concern in the wastes are identified. All wastes which contain constituents of concern below these regulatory levels may be managed as nonhazardous during the year. The loading limits serve as very clear pollution prevention goals for those generators that may produce wastes with elevated levels of the K181 constituents.

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How were the constituents of concern selected?

The potential constituents of concern were first identified through data sources as chemicals that could reasonably be expected to be associated with wastes from the production of azo, triarylmethane, perylene or anthraquinone dyes or pigments. Then, chemicals without toxicity benchmarks and those that could not be directly linked with the manufacture of the dyes and pigments of concern were removed. Finally, a risk assessment was performed on the remaining chemicals to identify the constituents of concern and their corresponding annual mass loading limits for these wastes managed in landfills.

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What are the selected constituents of concern and their regulatory annual mass loading levels?

They are as follows:

Constituent Chemical Abstracts No. Mass Levels (kg/yr)
Aniline 62-53-3 9,300
o-Anisidine 90-04-0 110
4-Chloroaniline 106-47-8 4,800
p-Cresidine 120-71-8 660
2,4-Dimethylaniline 95-68-1 100
1,2-Phenylenediamine 95-54-5 710
1,3-Phenylenediamine 108-45-2 1,200

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What exemptions are included in this listing?

These wastes are not hazardous if they are:

  1. Disposed in a Subtitle D landfill unit subject to the design criteria in §258.40;
  2. Disposed in a Subtitle C landfill unit subject to either §264.301 or §265.301;
  3. Disposed in other Subtitle D landfill units that meet the design criteria in §258.40, §264.301, or §265.301; or
  4. Treated in a combustion unit that is permitted under Subtitle C, or an on-site combustion unit that is permitted under the Clean Air Act.

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How is the listing implemented?

The listing determination is self-implementing. Waste generators are responsible for determining whether or not their dyes and/or pigment wastes are listed hazardous wastes at the point of generation based on procedures specified in the final rule.

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How can waste generators demonstrate that their wastes are not hazardous?

There are two ways for waste generators to demonstrate that their wastes are nonhazardous:

  1. Waste generators must demonstrate that the annual mass loading levels for the constituents of concern in the wastes are below the specified regulatory levels by either using knowledge of the wastes or through testing of the wastes. If the annual quantity of wastes generated is 1,000 metric tons or less, the generator can use knowledge of the waste constituents (e.g., based on prior analytical data, raw materials used, production processes, and reaction and degradation products). Generators of more than 1,000 metric tons per year of wastes must test their wastes.
  2. Alternatively, if the nonwastewaters are disposed in landfill units that meet specific design standards or are treated in certain permitted combustion units, the wastes would not be hazardous.

To use these exemptions, waste generators are required to maintain documentation demonstrating that shipments of their waste were received by a landfill unit that meets the specified design requirements, or were treated in a specified combustion unit.

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How are Appendix VIII and Land Disposal Restriction (LDR) Treatment Standards for hazardous wastes being amended?

This final rule adds the toxic constituents o-anisidine, p-cresidine, 1,2-phenylenediamine, 1,3-phenylenediamine, and 2,4-dimethylaniline associated with the identified wastes to the list of constituents that serves as the basis for classifying wastes as hazardous (40 CFR 261, Appendix VIII). In addition, this final rule includes either numerical or technology treatment standards for the constituents of concern in the wastes.

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