The waste hydraulic fluid must be disposed of safely and in a trackable manner. Unlike most materials, it’s possible to refine waste hydraulic fluid into new fuel, which can be repeatedly reused.
When handling and disposing of used hydraulic fluid, it’s essential to do it carefully. Such fluids take years to degrade, and if they find their way into the soil or water, they leave very detrimental effects on wildlife and plants. Besides, hydraulic fluid is exceptionally toxic during its breakdown and decaying process.
Like oils, hydraulic fluid is classified as hazardous waste. Most states’ legislations require hydraulic fluid waste producers and business owners to ensure responsible disposal and recycling of such wastes. As you wait for the waste to be appropriately removed and discarded, you must keep it in a safe container that’s adequately labeled, leak-proof, and waterproof to prevent any spillage or contamination.
As a waste hydraulic fluid producer, you’re also responsible for having risk assessment in your business. Also, ensure that all your staff members are familiar with the waste management regulations.
You can dispose of hydraulic fuel waste in 5 steps. They include:
- Fluid regeneration
- Energy recovery
1. Proper storage
The waste hydraulic fluid is collected and stored in safe containers. Ensure that the storage container is:
These properties prevent the waste hydraulic fluid from spilling and leaking.
2. Find a recycling facility near you
Take the waste hydraulic fluid to a recycling center for dewatering and removal of all contaminants to allow for reuse. Besides, recycling makes the hydraulic oil non-hazardous, making it safe to dispose of some of its elements.
3. Fluid regeneration
Fluid regeneration is almost similar to recycling. However, the process involves replenishing used hydraulic fluid with some additives to make it suitable for reuse.
4. Energy recovery
Waste hydraulic fluid can also be burned as fuel in the process known as energy recovery. Power generation industries use recovered hydraulic oils. If you’ve got some hydraulic fluid you want to get rid of, check with a power generation plant in your region to see if they can accept it.
5. Share it with a friend
Suppose you just replaced your hydraulic fluid and you don’t intend to reuse it. Before you decide to dispose of it, call a friend to see if they can take it for reuse.
Why is waste hydraulic fluid a threat?
Usually, hydraulic fluids contain non-dissolved polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) materials that render them hazardous. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides companies with EPA-approved PCB storage for shipment of hydraulic fluids containing PCBs to EPA-approved chemical waste processing sites.
In addition, improper disposal of waste hydraulic oil exposes people to detrimental health issues. The PCBs get into the environment and into the body. Every time a person gets exposed to PCBs, the effects continually worsen.
Prolonged exposure to PCBs can result in liver damage, skin lesions, and other health problems. Low exposures are the most common because humans can take in the PCBs by eating contaminated fish and other foods. This may lead to cancer, reproductive system issues, and immune system and thyroid problems.
Besides, mothers who have consumed PCBs give birth to infants with brain, hearing, motor skills dysfunctions and growth retardations.