One key element is understanding how to properly hot drain an oil filter. According to the Filter Manufacturers Council, you should remove the filter from the engine while warm, then immediately drain the free-flowing oil. Next, puncture the filter dome and invert the filter to drain into the appropriate container at a temperature above 60° F for at least 12 hours.
Sage Oil Vac offers a product that can simplify draining of filters. The Filter Stinger is used to pierce a used oil filter, then vacuum out the oil. "The Filter Stinger and the Used Filter Receptacle cut down on many spills, because the used oil is vacuumed from the filter before it is spun off," Sage explains. This also decreases the burn hazards to the technicians, since they are not handling the hot oil.
Used Oil Management Standards
The EPA has developed management standards for businesses that handle used oil. These include:
- Label all containers and tanks as used oil.
- Keep containers and tanks in good condition. Don't allow tanks to rust, leak or deteriorate. Fix structural defects immediately.
- Don't store used oil in anything other than tanks and storage containers. Used oil may also be stored in units that are permitted to store regulated hazardous waste. Tanks and containers storing used oil do not need to be Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) permitted, however, as long as they are labeled and in good condition. Storage of used oil in lagoons, pits or surface impoundments that are not permitted under RCRA is prohibited.
- Take steps to prevent leaks and spills. Keep machinery, equipment containers and tanks in good working condition, and be careful when transferring used oil. Have sorbent materials available on site.
- If a spill or leak occurs, stop the oil from flowing at the source. If a leak from a container or tank can't be stopped, put the oil in another holding container or tank.
- Contain spilled oil. For example, containment can be accomplished by erecting sorbent berms or by spreading a sorbent over the oil and surrounding area.
- Clean up the oil and recycle the used oil as you would have before it was spilled. If recycling is not possible, you must first make sure the oil is not a hazardous waste and dispose of it appropriately. All used cleanup materials that contain free-flowing used oil must also be handled according to the used oil management standards.
- Remember, all leaked and spilled oil collected during cleanup must be handled as used oil. If you are a used oil handler, you should become familiar with these cleanup methods. They may also be part of a spill response action plan.
- Remove, repair or replace the defective tank or container immediately.
While most of the EPA standards fall under the category of "common sense," you should really take a close look at how you store used oil and ensure there are plans in place to contain any leaks before they create a major contamination problem. "A contractor should consider putting double containment around the stationary used oil and/or fresh oil bulk tanks," says Aaron Sage, Sage Oil Vac.
Handling used oil and filters is just another aspect of owning and maintaining an equipment fleet. It's in your best interest to understand your local regulations in regards to proper handling and disposal, and to take the appropriate steps to minimize your liability exposure.
hazardous waste as long as it is hot drained. But this is not the case in every state. The Filter Manufacturers Council offers a "recycle your filter" page on its web site (www.filtercouncil.org), which allows you to select the state and view its regulations. A few states now have landfill bans, and have taken things a little farther than the EPA recommendations.
The web site can also help you locate an oil and filter management company. "Find your state, and we have a link to filter management companies that will service your state and your site," says Denton. He encourages as many people as possible to use this resource. "The Filter Manufacturers Council has always done as much as we can with states to develop a recycling infrastructure - working with states, as well as collectors and processors. That will allow construction fleets to get their product to the grave in an environmentally friendly manner."