Protecting Public Health and the Environment.

Used Oil

Did you know...

...one pint of oil can make a slick an acre square?

...one quart of oil will foul the taste of 250,000 gallons of drinking water?

...used oil mixed with hazardous waste can have toxic or carcinogenic effects on humans?

Used oil is any oil that has been refined from crude or synthetic oil and has been used as a lubricant, electrical insulation oil, hydraulic fluid, heat transfer oil, brake fluid, refrigeration oil, grease, or machine cutting oil.

Used oil does not include used oil mixed with hazardous waste except for specific instances, petroleum and synthetic based-products used as solvent, antifreeze, wastewater from which the oil has been removed, or oil-contaminated media or debris.

Under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which Idaho has adopted by reference into state rules, owners and/or operators of facilities where used oil is generated, processed, transported, or burned must comply with certain spill prevention and control countermeasures.

What is a Used Oil Generator?

A used oil generator is any person, by site, whose act or process produces used oil or whose act first causes the used oil to be regulated. Generators subject to used oil regulations include businesses, governments, schools, and equipment maintenance facilities. Examples include vehicle repair shops; service stations; motor pools; taxi, bus, or delivery fleets; city, state, or county road maintenance fleets; and shipyards. Idaho has more than 1,000 regulated used oil generators.

People who change their own oil (do-it-yourselfers) are not considered generators. Also exempt are farmers who generate an average of 25 gallons per month or less of used oil from vehicles or machinery used on the farm during a calendar year.

Requirements for Generators

Used oil generators must met the following requirements:

  • Store used oil only in tanks and containers, or units subject to regulation under 40 CFR 264 or 265.
  • Keep storage tanks and containers in good condition, as defined in
    40 CFR 279.22.
  • Clean up any spills or releases of used oil.
  • Use a transporter with an EPA identification number when shipping used oil off site.
  • Mark containers, aboveground tanks, and fill pipes with the words USED OIL.

Used oil may not be applied as a dust suppressant at any time (40 CFR 279.82).

Tips for Generators

Generators are encouraged to follow these practices:

  • Choose used oil transporters and recycling facilities carefully. Confirm that the transporter has an EPA identification number, know where your used oil is taken after it leaves your facility, and keep records of shipments made.
  • Thoroughly drain nonterne plated oil filters (used in most cars and light trucks) to avoid hazardous waste characterization requirements. Oil filters must be punctured and hot drained (or use an equivalent method, like crushing) to remove all free oil.
  • Employ and enforce good housekeeping procedures to avoid spills and contamination of recyclable materials.
  • Do not mix hazardous waste or other contaminants into your recyclable used oil waste stream.
  • Teach staff about the used oil regulations.

Minimize Waste

The greatest economic and environmental benefit can be realized by reducing the amount of waste produced. Try to reduce the amount of waste you produce first, then look for ways to recycle waste that cannot be eliminated.

You can also help protect Idaho's environment by collecting do-it-yourself used oil at your facility. Service stations that collect used oil from do-it-yourselfers and send it off site for recycling are not liable for emergency response costs or damages resulting from threatened or actual releases of used oil resulting from subsequent handling of the oil.

Transporters, Marketers, and Burners of Used Oil

Additional recordkeeping, reporting, and other specific regulations apply to transporters, marketers, and burners of used oil. Learn more.