Frequent Questions

How are representative sampling, confidence levels, and statistical analysis used to determine if a waste is hazardous?

How are representative sampling, confidence levels, and statistical analysis used to determine if a waste is hazardous?

 

A generator can either test his or her waste or apply knowledge of the waste to determine whether the waste is hazardous.  If a generator decides to test the waste, testing should be done in accordance with the test methods set forth in 40 CFR Part 261, Subpart C.

For the purposes of Subpart C, a representative sample can be obtained using any of the specified methods in Part 261, Appendix I.  A representative sample means a sample of a universe or whole (e.g., waste pile, lagoon, groundwater) which can be expected to exhibit the average properties of the universe or whole.

Sampling is the physical collection of a representative portion of the universe or whole of a waste or waste treatment residual.  For a sample to provide meaningful data, it is imperative that it reflect the average properties of the universe from which it was obtained, that its physical and chemical integrity be maintained, and that it be analyzed within a dedicated quality assurance program.  You can choose to use sampling methods specified in the regulations in 40 CFR Part 261, Appendix I, or you may choose to petition EPA for equivalency testing and analytical methods.  In particular, SW-846 has been developed by EPA to assist the regulated community in meeting analytical responsibilities under the RCRA program.  Refer to the following documents for planning and implementing your strategies for representative sampling, and setting confidence levels for statistical analysis of data to determine if a waste is hazardous.  See RCRA Waste Sampling Draft Technical Guidance Documents (August 2002, http://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-10/documents/rwsdtg_0.pdf).  Also see ASTM Manual 42 - RCRA Waste Management: Planning, Implementation, and Assessment of Sampling Activities (http://www.astm.org/DIGITAL_LIBRARY/MNL/SOURCE_PAGES/MNL42.htm).

Other Category: Sampling

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