What You Need to Know About Hazardous Waste

This article is part of our new “Need to Know” series. Stay tuned for more articles explaining the basics of environmental dangers and remediation throughout the coming months! 

hazardous waste

Identifying and cleaning up hazardous waste can be an expensive proposition for many companies that are caught between the presence of the waste materials, the regulations imposed by the government, and the cost of the clean-up itself.

What is Hazardous Waste?

Hazardous waste is material which is no longer needed and presents a danger to the health and wellbeing of those who are near it. The waste can be generated from industrial use, manufacturing, or the creation of certain products. The waste material can be solid, liquid, or gaseous in form and, in some cases, may be difficult to identify.

However, there is an identification process for hazardous waste, in terms of its substance and inclusion in EPA definitions of hazardous. Keep in mind that materials may be removed from the list of being hazardous, so what may have been considered dangerous yesterday may no longer be so today.


Today, there are a series of regulations from the EPA that define the creation, storage, treatment, transportation, and disposal of hazardous waste. All the regulations must be followed from start to finish or the owner risks fines, lawsuits, and in some cases imprisonment depending on the severity of the charges.

For companies that suspect or discover waste material that is hazardous on their property, the first step is to obey the federal, state, and local laws that are set in place. They should begin by hiring a licensed, insured, professional hazardous waste removal company, as they should be familiar with all applicable rules and regulations.

The next step is the proper identification and pricing for removal of the waste materials. It is true that even a small amount of waste may be expensive to remove because of the procedures that are involved. However, once it has been identified and acknowledge, it must be removed and disposed of in a timely manner. Otherwise there is a risk of greater contamination and violation of laws.

Once the material is gathered, it must be transported from the site to an area where it can be properly disposed. Depending on the nature of the hazardous waste, the process may be a simple or complicated one that includes considerations of storage size, type, and location. While the removal process is general is a complicated one, risks can be minimized when proper procedures are followed.

How Brickley Environmental Removes Hazardous Waste

At Brickley Environmental, we offer top of the line hazardous waste removal that is complete and affordable. Our trained technicians have the knowledge, skill, experience, and equipment to properly remove the material safely and effectively from your property. When you call our courteous, friendly staff, they will explain our services to you, answer all your questions, and can set up an appointment so our representative can inspect the situation and provide you with a free quote for our services.

New Lead-Acid Battery Fees in California


The dangers of lead have been known for decades and both state and federal government entities have taken substantial steps to eliminate lead from a wide variety of products, including gasoline and paint. However, lead is still present in some products, most notably car or vehicle batteries. This has prompted the State of California to charge a fee to both retailers and produces of lead batteries to curb their use.

Fees for Purchase or Sale of Lead-Acid Batteries

Those who purchase or sell lead batteries in California are subject to a new fee that went into effect on April 1st, 2017. The Lead-Acid Battery Recycling Act, which was passed in 2016, created two new fees that are applied to the purchase and manufacture of such batteries.

There is a $1 battery fee that is applied to the purchase and a $1 fee on the manufacturer, wholesaler, dealer, or other retailer or distributer. The fee on manufacturers will increase to $2 on April 1st, 2022. Dealers may charge customers for the required fee and retain 1.5% of the fee for reimbursement to pay for the costs in collecting the fee.

Essentially, the new law means that $1 is charged for every battery sold and purchased which is designed to increase the price and thus have consumers, retailers, and manufacturers turn towards batteries that contain little to no lead. While lead-acid batteries will still be at the forefront of car battery sales for the next several years, eventually they will be eliminated from production and the threat they pose will be even further reduced.

What is a Lead-Acid Battery?

This is a battery found in vehicles and it usually weighs more than 11 pounds. Its composition inside the casing is a combination of sulfuric acid and lead which can hold at least six volts of power. This provides a high-energy start to internal combustion engines found in vehicles and watercraft. Also, it can independently power such vehicles when used in multiples and provide stationary power for emergency uses.

However, lead is a known poison that causes brain damage and impairment, especially in children. While exposure to lead from batteries of this nature is rare, the threat is such that California has enacted this legislation.

At Brickley Environmental, we serve the Southern California community in waste cleanup which includes lead abatement. Call today and find out more about our services as we answer your questions about the dangers of lead and how it can be removed from your property.

Businesses Fined for Illegal Disposal of Hazardous Waste

Any business that must deal with hazardous waste may face considerable fines if they do not remove and dispose of it properly and legally. Recently, the Department of Health & Human Services in Humboldt County issued fines to four separate businesses for their failure to comply with storage and disposal standards.

  • Antich Automotive, Eureka: $6,080 in fines for waste oil spill
  • Figas Construction, Arcata: $14,000 in fines for illegal transportation of hazardous waste
  • Hoopa Valley Ready-Mix, Willow Creek: $7,835 in fines for failure to comply with standards
  • Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Loleta: $1,684 in fines for hazardous waste spill

In the case of Antich Automotive, they were fined for a waste oil spill that emanated from one of their indoor tanks. Because the company did not fully comply with its own response and reporting policies, they were subsequently fined. For Figas Construction, the mishandling of hazardous substances included not handling or transporting the substances safely.

An investigation revealed that Hoopa Valley Ready-Mix was discharging cement wastewater off their location. By not reporting or complying with county standards, they were fined for their actions. Pacific Gas & Electric Company reported a spill in 2016 from a transformer that was on a dairy ranch. The fines came about because the company did not properly maintain their equipment.

While the fines themselves may seem rather small on the surface, the overall total was nearly $30,000 and the fines are only going to grow over time. The combination of environmental interests, impacts on the economy, and vigor in which many county administrations are pursuing businesses that handle hazardous waste means more fines are on the way.

Ongoing incidents may also rack up penalties that build each day until the issue is fully addressed. Fines from $5,000 up to $25,000 per day and per violation fall within the power of county authorities to enforce. The importance of businesses to address such issues before they grow out of control may be paramount to their own financial health.

How Businesses Should Handle Hazardous Waste

When any contamination is detected, the first step is to report it to the proper authorities and devise a plan to clean up and correct the issue. If the business follows local, county, and state standards, then a spill, for example, will not be fined if the company reports, creates a plan of action, and addresses the issue in a timely manner. This means that companies will need to have proper storage facilities and plans of action in case the worst should occur.

It is clear from the rise of litigation over the improper disposal of hazardous waste that your business should use the proven services of Brickley Environmental. You can call on our experts to inform you of the legal standards, provide proper disposal services, and answer your questions about this growing issue. Protect your business by calling Brickley Environmental today for proper disposal of hazardous waste material.

Is There Electronic Waste in Your Home?

When most people think of hazardous waste, they think of runoff from huge manufacturing plants that use chemicals in the creation of their products. The truth is, however, that there are many types of hazardous waste in our homes. While cleaning chemicals are usually formulated to be safe to go down the drain (with some notable exceptions), the electronics that most people have in their homes can often be classified as hazardous waste, meaning that these electronics should not go in the trash. Most counties have a hazardous waste facility where you can drop off your electronics.

But how do you know what you can safely put in the trash and what needs to go to a specific facility for disposal? Here are some of the most common types of electronic waste:

• Televisions of all kinds, including flat screens, plasmas, and tubes

• Computers of all kinds and their monitors, mice, keyboards and accessories

• Cellphones, telephones, and their answering machines

• Stereo equipment

• Tape players

• VCRS, Blu-ray players, DVD players, CD players, and phonographs

• Microwaves

• Thermostats (most thermostats use mercury to gauge temperature)

• Fluorescent lights

• Digital clocks

• MP3 players of all kinds

• Cameras of all kinds

• Anything that contains a cathode ray tube

There are, however, some electronics that can go to your average transfer station, including:

• Vacuum cleaners

• Motors

• Fans

• Lamps and similar light fixtures

• Toasters

• Ovens

• Garbage disposals

• Curling irons and hair dryers

• And most appliances

Many people put things in the trash, not realizing that they are actually electronic waste and should be handled by the appropriate hazardous waste facilities. Following these guidelines will prevent dangerous chemicals and materials from entering landfills, where they can affect local groundwater. While throwing away one digital clock might not seem like that big of a deal, a high enough concentration of these electronics in landfills can become very dangerous.

The Dangers of Trichloroethylene in Ground Water

When most people hear “trichloroethylene,” they probably have no frame of reference for this chemical, what it is used for, or how it gets into drinking water. This is one of the most common industrial solvents on the market. It is clear, doesn’t catch of fire, and has a sweet smell that makes it ideal for cleaning a huge variety of things. Runoff from manufacturing plants and businesses that use this solvent can affect the health of drinking water in some communities.

Much of the runoff from industries that use trichloroethylene ends up in the ocean, not in the nation’s drinking water, but groundwater contamination is still a serious problem in many parts of the country, especially in areas where industries have not been disposing of their hazardous waste correctly. Seepage has become a serious environmental issue and in some areas, has become a real health hazard.

Trichloroethylene (TCE) has a number of physiological effects that should be of concern to those whose water supply might be contaminated with this chemical. Overexposure to TCE can affect the central nervous system. Many people experience drowsiness, headaches, or light-headedness. Over time, the more exposure a person has to it, these symptoms will continue to persist and worsen. If the exposure becomes chronic, there can be damage to the nervous system, kidneys, and liver.

As with many chemicals, most people are exposed in their workplace and most areas that have been affected by TCE have already been cleaned. Up until very recently, however, this chemical was not listed as a carcinogen. Today, more than half of the states in the USA classify it as such. Most industries that used this chemical heavily have moved on to other solvents, leading to far less need for cleanup or remediation of dump sites and no recent discoveries of TCE in drinking water.