Information presented in this publication is intended to provide a general understanding of the statutory and regulatory requirements governing used oil and used oil filters generated by small businesses. This information is not intended to replace, limit or expand upon the complete statutory and regulatory requirements found in the Illinois Environmental Protection Act and Title 35 of the Illinois Administrative Code. These requirements can be found on line at www.ipcb.state.il.us.
Used Oil is any petroleum-based or synthetic oil that has been contaminated with dirt, metals, water, or other chemicals such as solvents during use in a process. Used oil is not the same as waste oil. Waste oil includes oils which have not been used, such as virgin oil tank bottoms or cleanup residues from a product spill. In addition, used oil must be recycled or burned for energy recovery. Used oils commonly generated by small businesses include materials such as used motor oil, transmission fluid, refrigeration oil, compressor oil, hydraulic fluid, metal working fluid, and other lubricants.
The following materials are also regulated as used oil:
There are no time limitations on storage of used oil; however, if it is stored greater than one year and there doesn’t appear to be any definite plan to remove the oil, it may be considered for disposal. Used oil should only be stored in tanks and containers that are not leaking, rusting, deteriorating, or having other defects. Used oil containers and above ground tanks should be stored on a surface that does not allow used oil to seep through, such as cement or asphalt. Containers, above ground tanks, and fill pipes for underground storage tanks (UST) of used oil should be marked with the words “Used Oil.” USTs that store used oil should also comply with the UST general operating requirements. For more information on UST general operating requirements, call the Office of Small Business.
Used oil can be recycled on site by reconditioning the oil to remove contaminants so that the oil can be reused. One of the most common ways to recycle used oil is to filter it.
Used oil can be burned in oil-fired space heaters if:
Mixing used oil with other non-hazardous wastes, such as wastewater or solvent, may make management of the mixture more complicated. Generally, these mixtures are regulated under both the used oil regulations and solid waste regulations. A receiving facility which accepts used oil for recycling may not have permits to accept other solid wastes. Mixing used oil and other waste may make disposal of the mixture more difficult and more expensive.
It is a good practice NOT to mix your wastes, especially hazardous waste with used oil. The management of these mixtures becomes more complicated and some used oil recyclers will not accept the used oil even if it is done in accordance with the used oil regulations. By keeping your wastes separate, used oil can be managed as used oil.
Regulations for mixture of used oil and hazardous waste depends on the hazardous waste generator status of your facility. To determine your generator status, see the fact sheet titled “How Do I Manage Hazardous Waste?” If you are a conditionally exempt, small-quantity generator (producing less than 220 pounds of hazardous waste per month) and you mix used oil with any hazardous waste generated on site, the used oil mixture is regulated as used oil. If you are a small-quantity generator (producing 220 to 2,200 pounds of hazardous waste per month) or a large-quantity generator (producing more than 2,200 pounds of hazardous waste per month), the used oil mixture is regulated as a hazardous waste if one or more of the following applies:
Used oil with a total halogen concentration of 1,000 ppm is presumed to be a listed hazardous waste; however, if you can show that the used oil does not contain significant concentrations of halogenated listed solvents, the used oil is not regulated as a listed hazardous waste. This demonstration can be made by collecting a sample of used oil and analyzing it for the listed halogenated solvents.
To determine the type of hazardous waste that you generate, see the fact sheet titled “Do I Have a Special Waste?”
You may transport up to 55 gallons of used oil in a self-owned vehicle to a registered collection center and you would not have to follow the used oil transportation rules. You may still have to be a licensed special waste hauler. Any other type of shipment of used oil must be made by a Illinois licensed special waste hauler with both EPA and Illinois EPA identification numbers. Each shipment must be accompanied by a manifest. To obtain a manifest or information about how to fill out a manifest, contact the Office of Small Business.
Used oil can be transported to collection centers or processing facilities that have both EPA and Illinois EPA identification numbers or to a selfowned collection center.
When used oil is spilled, the following actions should be taken:
A non-terne plated used oil filter that has been properly drained may be recycled as scrap metal or disposed of as special waste. Terne is an alloy of tin and lead. Special waste may be certified non-special in accordance with the procedures in Section 22.48 of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act. Once certified as non-special, the used oil filter may be disposed of as general refuse. Terne-plated filters may be hazardous waste because of their lead content. If you generate terne-plated filters, they may be subject to testing and other hazardous waste determination requirements. Contact the Office of Small Business for more information on managing terne-plated filters. Draining used oil from your filters can be performed using one of the following methods:
Hot draining should occur for a period of at least 12 hours at or near the engine’s operating temperature and always above room temperature (60oF). Filters that immediately drip oil when picked up have not been properly drained.
The drained filters should be placed in covered dumpsters or containers that prevent rain infiltration. In addition, the dumpsters or containers should be capable of holding any residual used oil that may escape from the filter.
For more information on how to handle used oil filters, contact the Filter Manufacturers’ Council Regulatory Hotline at (800) 99-FILTER or the Office of Small Business.
Reducing the amount of used oil that you generate is an important pollution prevention (P2) measure. In addition to environmental protection, P2 can reduce operating costs and improve efficiency. The following tips can help you reduce the amount of used oil you generate:
After draining, a filter can contain 2 to 8 ounces of residual used oil. Over 400 million oil filters are used in the United States every year. Therefore, landfilling of 6.25 to 25 million gallons of used oil in the filters could occur annually.
For more information on used oil management, please call the Office of Small Business toll-free at (888) 372-1996. All calls are considered confidential and the caller can remain anonymous.