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Used Oil

Used oil can be a valuable resource when it is properly managed to avoid release to the environment and recycled for utilization of its lubricant or fuel value. The state of Indiana adopted used oil management rules, codified in Article 13 of the Indiana Administrative Code (329 IAC 13[PDF]), to encourage the recycling of used oil and promote its environmentally sound collection, storage, and management. The rules incorporate substantially the federal standards for the management of used oil in Title 40, Part 279, of the Code of Federal Regulations (40 CFR 279), with certain modifications and additions relating to mixing hazardous waste with used oil and prohibiting the use of used oil as a dust suppressant.

Definition of Used Oil

Used oil is defined as any oil that has been refined from crude oil, or is a synthetic oil, and has been used and, as a result of such use, is contaminated by physical or chemical impurities. Used oils may include lubricants, hydraulic fluids, and heat transfer fluids, including commonly generated oils such as motor oil, hydraulic oils, metalworking oils, wire drawing solutions, refrigeration oil, or electrical insulating oil. Oil wastes originating from unused oil, oils used solely for their solvent properties, and animal and vegetable oils are not regulated as used oil. The facility must then determine if the waste is hazardous pursuant to 40 CFR 262.11, unless the oil is generated from a household, and manage the waste accordingly.

Recycling of Used Oil

The used oil management rules apply to used oils that are destined for recycling. If used oil that is to be recycled has acquired contaminants or hazardous characteristics from product formulation or through its intended use, it is regulated under the used oil management rules rather than as a hazardous waste, even if it exhibits hazardous characteristics. However, used oil that is mixed with a “listed” or “characteristic” hazardous waste regulated by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) is subject to regulation under the hazardous waste rules in 329 IAC 3.1 [PDF]. Used oil that contains greater than 1,000 parts per million (ppm) total halogens is presumed to have been mixed with a “listed” hazardous waste unless it can be demonstrated that the source of the halogens was not from hazardous waste mixing (commonly referred to as “rebuttable presumption”).

However, used oil mixed solely with hazardous wastes from households, do-it-yourselfers, or very small quantity generators (VSQG) would not be regulated as a hazardous waste. If the resulting mixture would exceed 1,000 ppm total halogens, the generator must still rebut the presumption that the used oil has been mixed with a hazardous waste by demonstrating the source of the halogens is from a household, do-it-yourselfer, or VSQG.

Burning Used Oil for Energy Recovery

Under the used oil management rule, both re-refining and burning of used oil for energy recovery are considered to be forms of recycling. Re-refining is the preferred method of managing used oil because it preserves limited resources. However, in some instances, such as when disposing of settled solids from the bottom of a used oil tank, or disposing of petroleum-contaminated wipes, sorbents, or spill materials, burning the material for energy recovery is the better management option. Burning used oil in a used oil furnace is subject to additional rules in the used oil management rule including: only burning used oil the owner or operator generates or received from household do-it-yourselfers; only burning in heaters designed to have a maximum capacity of not more than five-tenths (0.5) million British thermal units per hour; and ensuring the combustion gases from the heater are vented to the ambient air.

Because small oil-burning furnaces are not as clean-burning or as efficient as industrial furnaces, IDEM recommends that used oil be sent to a fuel blender rather than burning it on-site. In no case, should a used oil generator send his used oil to an off-site facility for burning unless that facility has notified as an off-specification used oil burner or the generator complies with 329 IAC 13-9 [PDF] if he is claiming the used oil meets specification for used oil.

Disposal of Used Oil

If used oil will be disposed rather than recycled, it becomes subject to applicable hazardous or solid waste rules rather than the used oil management rules. A generator of used oil wanting to dispose of it must first determine whether it is a hazardous waste pursuant to 40 CFR 262.11. If it is determined to be a hazardous waste then it must be disposed of properly under 329 IAC 3.1 [PDF]. If the waste is determined to not be hazardous then it must be disposed in accordance with the requirements of 329 IAC 10 [PDF].

Prohibited Uses of Used Oil

The used oil management rules prohibit the use of used oil as a dust suppressant or the storage or management of used oil in surface impoundments. Indiana Code 13-30-2-1(14) prohibits the application of used oil to any ground surface, except for purposes of treatment in accordance with a permit issued by IDEM according to the laws listed in IC 13-30-2-1(14).

Who is Subject to Regulation?

Anyone who generates or handles used oil, regardless of the volume involved, must comply with the applicable management standards in the used oil management rules, with certain exceptions found in 329 IAC 13-4-1 [PDF] including:

  • Farmers generating an average of 25 gallons or less of used oil per month in a calendar year
  • Used oil generated on vessels while at sea or port (regulated upon removal from the vessel)
  • Used oil after mixing with diesel fuel for the generator’s own use

The rules set management requirements specific to the following categories of used oil handlers:

  • Used oil generators (minimal container management, on-site burning, spill cleanup, off-site shipments)
  • Used oil collection centers and aggregation points (same as for generators)
  • Used oil transporters and transfer facilities (includes additional recordkeeping, container and tank management, and storage time limits)
  • Used oil processors and re-refiners (additional recordkeeping, container and tank management, analysis plan, and emergency preparedness)
  • Used oil burners (off-specification used oil for energy recovery - additional recordkeeping)
  • Used oil fuel marketers (recordkeeping)

Notification Requirements

Generators of used oil are not required to notify IDEM of their activities. However, persons conducting any of the following activities are required to notify IDEM as a used oil handler:

  • Transporting used oil
  • Operating a used oil transfer facility
  • Processing and/or re-refining used oil
  • Burning off-specification (off-spec) used oil fuel
  • Marketing off-spec used oil directly to a burner

How to Notify IDEM of your Used Oil Activities

Used oil handlers must use MyRCRAid to obtain a U.S. EPA Identification Number (U.S. EPA ID Number) or to update their U.S. EPA ID Number if they already have one. The U.S. EPA ID Number is unique to that site and it not transferable to another location. Should a used oil handler cease activities at a site, the handler should notify IDEM using MyRCRAid and request that the number be deactivated.

Reporting Requirement

Used oil management rule 329 IAC 13-7-8 [PDF] requires used oil processors or re-refiners to submit a report by March 1 of every even-numbered year that describes their used oil activities conducted during the preceding odd-numbered year. The Used Oil Management Report (State Form 52392) is available on the IDEM Forms page.

IDEM Resources

For Assistance

Please contact Hazardous Waste staff for more information or assistance.