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Contact Solid & Hazardous Waste

Mike Apple, Director
5th Floor, L&C Tower
401 Church Street
Nashville, TN 37243-1535
615-532-0886 (fax)

DATE: July 30, 1999
TO: DSWM Staff and Interested Persons
FROM: Mike Apple, Director
Division of Solid Waste Management

SUBJECT: Policy Statement -- Mercury-Containing Batteries and PCB Containing Ballasts and Transformers

Effective July 19, 1999, mercury-containing lamps are considered to be a hazardous waste in Tennessee under certain conditions and are now regulated under Rule 1200-1-11-.12 Standards For Universal Waste Management. As a result of this action, a revised policy statement dated July 9, 1999 regarding these lamps was issued and the following five (5) memos and policy statements, which included the three topics of this memo, were revoked effective July 19, 1999:

  • Wayne Gregory’s memo dated January 30, 1995 stating the opinion that used fluorescent lamps are characteristic by-products, not spent materials.
  • Wayne Gregory’s memo dated February 10, 1995 to Mimi Vreeland restating the same opinion as above;
  • Tom Tiesler’s memo dated June 6, 1996 regarding fluorescent lamps, ballasts and transformers;
  • Tom Tiesler’s Policy Statement dated September 10, 1996 referencing households and Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators; and
  • Tom Tiesler’s clarification memo dated March 16, 1998 concerning the inclusion of High Intensity Discharge Lamps (HID) and the handling of ballasts and transformers.

Again, all the above policies/memos were revoked effective July 19, 1999.

The household hazardous waste exemption under Rule 1200-1-11-.02(1)(d)2(i) remains in effect. By Division policy, households are also exempt from special waste requirements.

PCB-Containing Ballasts and Transformers

Tennessee Rule 1200-1-11-.02(l)(h) and 40 CFR 261.8 state that PCB wastes regulated under the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) and 40 CFR Part 761 are hazardous wastes only because they exhibit the Toxicity Characteristic and are exempt from regulation under Tennessee Hazardous Waste Rules. To qualify for this exemption, the generator or owner or operator must be able to demonstrate that generation, accumulation, transportation, and destruction/disposal of the PCB containing wastes are fully controlled/regulated by TSCA. The Tennessee Solid Waste Program (non-hazardous) does not permit the disposal of PCB’s of 50 ppm or greater in a Subtitle D Sanitary Landfill (excluding PCB bulk product wastes). PCB’s of 50 ppm or greater are regulated under TSCA by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

In Tennessee, for the latest information regarding certain types of PCB disposal in Subtitle D landfills, please contact:

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation
Division of Solid Waste Management
L & C Tower, 5th Floor
401 Church Street
Nashville, TN 37243-1535
(615) 532-0780

For additional information or assistance from EPA Region 4, please contact:

United States Environmental Protection Agency
Region 4, Atlanta Federal Center
61 Forsyth Street, SW
Atlanta, GA 30303-3104
Main Phone Numbers:
(404) 562-9900
FAX (404) 562-8174

Mercury Containing-Batteries

Certain mercury-containing batteries may be disposed in a Subtitle D landfill with a composite liner and leachate collection system. Facilities (households or conditionally exempt small quantity generators) which generate 15 or less of these batteries per month may dispose of them in such a manner. Facilities which generate more than 15 per month shall properly package and store them until they have accumulated enough to ship to a recycling facility, hazardous waste management facility, or may pursue special waste approval through the Division of Solid Waste Management.