Frequent Questions

How is specification used oil regulated?

EPA established used oil specification criteria that allow used oil to be burned in non-industrial burners without RCRA regulation (40 CFR Part 279.11). The used oil fuel specification lists maximum allowable limits for arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, and total halogens, as well as a minimum flashpoint (Memo, Cotsworth to Green; September 26, 1997 (RCRA Online #14117). The used oil specifications are as follows: 

Arsenic - 5 ppm maximum 
Cadmium - 2 ppm maximum 
Chromium - 10 ppm maximum 
Lead - 100 ppm maximum
Total Halogens - 4,000 ppm maximum 
Flash point - 100 degrees F. minimum 

Used oil that meets the above fuel specifications can be burned for energy recovery in any device without EPA restrictions (Memo, Porter to Blair; September 22, 1988 (RCRA Online #13224). The specification determination is made either by testing the used oil or by using historical analytical results (Monthly Call Center Report Question; July 2002 (RCRA Online #14624)). A burner of specification used oil must analyze or use information to show that the oil meets specification and must comply with the recordkeeping requirement in Part 279.72 (57 FR 41566, 41597; September 10, 1992)). In addition, the first person to claim that used oil meets specification is considered a used oil fuel marketer and must comply with the requirements in Sections 279.72, 279.73 and 279.74 (b) (Memo; Shapiro to Dixon; November 27, 1996 (RCRA Online #14110)). The specifications do not apply to mixtures of used oil and hazardous waste which are regulated as hazardous waste (Section 279.10(b)).
Additional guidance regarding specification used oil is available in the following documents: 
Monthly Call Center Report Question; November 2001 (RCRA Online #14584) Memo, Hale to Citizen; September 15, 1996 (RCRA Online #12738
Memo, Porter to Blair; August 20, 1990 (RCRA Online #13224
Memo, EPA to Stevens; October 17, 1989 (RCRA Online #13331

These documents are available at the following URL:

Further information regarding the used oil management program is available at the following URL:

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