Disposal Guidance

Proper waste management and disposal is important to protect human health and the environment. Many materials and situations raise questions regarding the best way to handle or dispose of a waste. The guidance on this page is intended to help provide solutions for some of the most common and most asked about materials.

Contact Rebecca Colvin with additional questions at rebecca.colvin@alaska.gov or 907-269-7802.

Guidance Documents

Each of the topics below contain a printable version for your convenience.

Animal Remains and Carcasses

Proper disposal of dead animals and animal remains is important to prevent the transmission of disease and to protect the environment. This includes remains of livestock, poultry, game animals, wildlife, pets, and other animals. See below for recommendations for birds.

The three most common options for disposal are:

Disposal in a Landfill
Animal remains may be disposed in a permitted landfill. Contact your local landfill about specific requirements for disposal.

Cremation or Incineration
Animal remains may be cremated or incinerated and the ashes disposed in a permitted landfill.

Burial
It may be possible to bury animal remains on private land. The following requirements must be met:

  • Check with local authorities to ensure burial of the animal does not violate local ordinances.
  • Ensure that ground water is at least 10 feet below ground surface.
  • Obtain permission from the landowner.
  • Ensure that the burial site is at least 100 feet from any drinking water well, stream, lake, or other water body.
  • Cover the remains with lime before burying, particularly when needed to control odors.
  • Cover the remains immediately with at least 2 feet of soil.

The remains of livestock with infectious diseases require special considerations.

Dead livestock that may have infectious or contagious diseases must be disposed under the guidance and authorization of the State Veterinarian. If you have any questions, contact your local veterinarian or call the Office of the State Veterinarian at 907-375-8215. Wildlife carcasses with possible infections or contagious diseases must be disposed under guidance from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

How should I dispose of a dead bird?

Due to the spread of avian disease, any wild bird found dead with no obvious cause, such as a power line or building, should be reported to the Alaska Sick and Dead Bird Hotline at 1-866-527-3358. For your safety, you should not handle sick or dead wild birds. Any domestic bird that has died of unknown causes should be handled carefully to prevent the spread of disease. If you suspect the bird died from avian flu, contact the State Veterinarian at 907-375-8215.

Safety Precautions:

  • Do not touch a dead bird with your bare hands.
    • Use disposable, protective gloves or put your hand inside a plastic bag when handling a dead bird.
    • Turn the bag or gloves inside out as you remove them to avoid contamination.
    • Contaminated gloves or bags should be sealed inside a clean plastic bag, and disposed with other household garbage or buried.
  • After handling the bird wash your hands thoroughly with soap.
  • Disinfect any surfaces or objects that are likely to be contaminated.
  • Clothing that may have contacted the bird should be washed immediately.

Disposal Options:

Household Garbage

  • Place the dead bird in a plastic bag and seal the bag.
  • Put the bag containing the dead bird into a second plastic bag.
  • Place the bag in the trash can or dumpster with your normal household garbage.

Burial

  • Ensure that groundwater is at least 10 feet below ground surface.
  • Dig a hole at least two feet deep.
  • Holding the bag (using gloves or another plastic bag) by the corners of the closed end, let the carcass fall out of the bag into the hole.
  • Cover the carcass with dirt and fill the hole.
  • Place the used bag and gloves (or other hand protection) inside a clean plastic bag and seal it. This may be disposed with other household garbage.

Animal Remains guidance in pdf

Asbestos

Asbestos refers to a group of naturally-occurring minerals used in a wide variety of building materials and friction products. Asbestos is not hazardous if it remains undisturbed. However, if the material is disturbed and the fibers become airborne and are inhaled or ingested, they can cause lung and other cancers. During the demolition or renovation of most structures, you are required to identify and properly manage asbestos-containing material (ACM) to protect workers and the public from possible exposure. ACM must be carefully removed, packaged, and disposed to avoid exposure.

Prior to 1980 a variety of construction materials contained asbestos fibers. Although some uses were restricted in 1980, asbestos can still be found in wallboard, flooring materials, roofing materials, mastics, thermal protection, and cement products. To ensure that the hazards are properly identified, prior to demolition or renovation a certified inspector must perform a building or hazard survey to identify suspected ACM. Asbestos cannot be identified by sight but can be identified through simple laboratory tests. Samples of each suspect material must be tested to determine the presence of asbestos fibers. Material that contains more than 1% asbestos fibers is regulated as ACM. 

Regulations divide ACM into two categories based on whether the material is friable or non-friable.

  • “Friable ACM” is material that can be crumbled, pulverized, or reduced to powder by hand pressure. This typically includes products such as thermal or acoustic insulation and ceiling texture.  The handling and disposal of friable ACM is stringently regulated as the material poses the greater health risk to residents and workers.  Friable ACM is more commonly referred to as regulated ACM (RACM).
  • “Non-friable ACM”, also referred to as non-regulated ACM (non-RACM), falls into one of two classifications:
    • Category I non-friable ACM include packing, gaskets, resilient floor coverings, and asphalt roofing products that are not friable or likely to become friable during handling.
    • Category II non-friable ACM include any other ACM that are not friable.

Despite the use of “non-regulated” to describe these materials, both state and federal regulations govern the handling and disposal of non-RACM.  These less-stringent regulations apply as long as these materials are handled carefully during demolition or renovation to prevent the release of asbestos fibers.  If these materials are damaged to the point that they may create dust or release asbestos fibers, they are regulated as RACM, and must be removed, packaged, and disposed accordingly.

Asbestos Regulations

Agency
Regulation
Description

EPA

40 CFR 61, Subpart M

National Emissions Standards for Asbestos

EPA

40 CFR 61.145

Asbestos Emission Standards for Demolition and Renovation

EPA

40 CFR 61.150

Standards for Waste Disposal from Demolition and Renovation

EPA

40 CFR 61.154

Standards for Active ACM Waste Disposal Sites

OSHA

29 CFR 1926.1101

Occupational Safety and Health Regulations for Asbestos in Construction and Demolition

AKOSH

8 AAC 61.600-720

Asbestos Abatement Regulations

ADEC

18 AAC 60.450

Asbestos Disposal Regulations

 

Removal of ACM

Federally, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulate the removal and handling of ACM.  At the State level, Alaska Occupational Safety and Health (AKOSH) performs regulatory compliance and enforcement duties and offers consultation and training services to help contractors ensure that they are in compliance with the regulations.

Due to the potential health risks, AKOSH requires special training, certification, and protection plans for asbestos removal workers.
8 AAC 61.600 Certification Required. A person performing, directly supervising, or monitoring asbestos abatement work must have a certificate issued under 8 AAC 61.720. The certificate must be in the person's possession when performing work.

RACM removal requires very careful handling and special equipment. Non-RACM must be handled appropriately so it is not exposed to sanding, grinding, crushing, or other processes that could damage the material and result in release of fibers.

At least 10 days prior to beginning the demolition of any structure (except a residential structure with four or fewer units) and regardless of the presence of ACM, EPA requires that the operator submit a notification form regarding the project. A notification must also be submitted for a renovation project that will disturb ACM above the EPA regulatory threshold.  Even though a project may not require notification, health and management standards still apply.  Many of the applicable regulations overlap, but each set of regulations has requirements that must be applied to an asbestos abatement project.  The project must adhere to the most stringent of the regulations when a conflict occurs.

Disposal of ACM Waste

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) regulates the disposal of ACM.  ACM may only be disposed in a landfill permitted to accept it.  This can include Class I and Class II municipal landfills, or monofills specific to construction and demolition debris or asbestos. However, each landfill determines its own acceptance policy.  Most small rural landfills (Class III) are not permitted to accept any ACM.  Contact the landfill directly to determine specific policies for ACM waste disposal, or contact your ADEC regional office to discuss disposal options in the project area.

All RACM, including any non-RACM that has been damaged by processes that could result in release of fibers, must be packaged in leak-tight containers or bags, with proper warning labels and generator information. A waste shipment record signed by both the transporter and the landfill operator must accompany each load.  In addition, the transporter must adhere to the Department of Transportation (DOT) hazardous materials requirements.

The landfill operator is required to inspect each load to verify that the RACM is properly packaged and labeled and that waste shipment records match the quantities delivered.  Any discrepancies in the waste shipment record must be reported to EPA.  Access to the RACM disposal cell must be restricted with warning signs posted around the cell, and the landfill operator must supervise the disposal of each container to ensure that containment remains intact. One copy of the signed waste shipment record must be retained in the landfill record, and one returned to the waste generator.  Detailed records of the quantities and disposal locations and depths of all RACM disposed in the landfill must also be kept in the landfill record. 

Non-RACM that has not been damaged does not require special packaging or shipment records, although the landfill may have specific requirements.  Once at the landfill, non-RACM requires special handling to ensure that it does not become friable. This requires gently placing the material into the disposal cell so it does not break or create dust, and preventing landfill equipment from running over or compacting the non-RACM until it is covered by at least six inches of material that does not contain asbestos.  Landfills often choose to dispose of non-RACM separately from other waste because access restrictions also apply.  These restrictions include prohibiting salvaging in any cell that accepts non-RACM to protect the public from contacting asbestos fibers.  Landfills are not required to track waste shipment records or disposal quantities for non-RACM unless they are commingled with RACM and are therefore disposed in the RACM cell.

Asbestos Regulatory Contacts

Agency
Issue
Contacts

EPA

Asbestos Emissions, Reporting, Handling

907-271-3688

AKOSH

Worker Safety and Training

800-656-4972

AKOSH

Workplace Compliance and Enforcement

800-770-4940

ADEC

Disposal Options and Requirements

907-269-7622

 

Summary

Take responsibility for protecting yourself, workers, and the public from contacting asbestos fibers by following the regulatory requirements for identification, handling, and disposal of ACM. Contact EPA, AKOSH, or ADEC if you have any questions regarding the requirements and options for handling ACM for your project.

Summary of ACM Handling Requirements

Generators Must: Landfills Must:
  • Perform surveys and testing
  • Notify EPA and AKOSH, as required
  • Ensure removal is performed by certified asbestos abatement professional only
  • Use proper removal and safety techniques
  • Handle materials so they are not crushed, broken, abraded, or otherwise may release fibers
  • Determine landfill acceptance policies
  • Deliver to a landfill permitted for asbestos disposal
  • Ensure that ACM from demolitions and renovations is properly identified when delivered. ADEC recommends requiring submittal of building surveys for a project to identify if ACM is present, and disposal records if ACM is disposed elsewhere.
  • Place all ACM at the appropriate working face in a manner that does not create breakage or dust
  • Cover ACM daily with at least six inches of soil or non-ACM
  • Do not allow salvaging in any area with ACM

Also for RACM:

  • Seal RACM in leak-proof containers
  • Apply required warning label
  • Label with generator information
  • Fill out all required shipping records
  • Maintain all required records
  • Inspect each load to verify that RACM waste is properly contained and labeled
  • Ensure that shipping records are complete and match the amounts delivered, and report any discrepancies to EPA
  • Track quantities, depths, and location of all RACM waste
  • Maintain access control and signage

 

Burial on Private Property

In Alaska, state laws and regulations are relatively silent on the matter of burying human remains on private property. However, many communities in the State of Alaska have local ordinances that address this issue. Contact your local or regional government office or a local funeral home or mortuary for information on the burial of human remains in your area. Note: The Municipality of Anchorage has local ordinances prohibiting the burial of human remains except in an approved cemetery.

State law does require a person who assumes custody of a dead body for final disposition to obtain a burial-transit permit. A burial-transit permit may be obtained from any funeral home in the state or from the Bureau of Vital Statistics in Juneau at (907) 465-3391.

Private Property Burial Plot Recommendations
If burial on private property is allowed by local authorities in your area, these guidelines should be followed:

  • Burial should be a minimum of 6 feet below the ground surface
  • Burial should be in a proper container (e.g. a vault or casket) to prevent the leaching of bodily fluids
  • All grave sites should be a minimum of 200 feet from any stream, lake, or potable water supply
  • Grave sites should be recorded on the deed to the property

PDF version of Burial on Private Property FAQ

Burning Waste in Class III Landfills

Burning solid waste is a common practice in rural Alaska and, when done properly, can be an effective solid waste management tool. Proper burning requires removing waste that is not burnable prior to burning, containing the waste and controlling the burn, and properly maintaining the equipment.

Advantages to burning solid waste include:

  • Reducing the volume of waste that will be landfilled;
  • Reducing animal attraction to the landfill;
  • Reducing the amount of cover material (dirt) needed to control issues such as windblown litter and odor; and
  • Reducing the production of leachate. Leachate is water that has been in contact with solid waste and now contains some of that waste’s materials making it a contaminated liquid.

Proper Burning

Proper burning begins with separating out non-burnable waste and other wastes that may produce toxins. This will improve the temperature and completeness of the burn as energy is not being used to try and burn waste that will not burn. In addition, wastes that will produce chemicals or black smoke when they are burned should be separated out to provide a cleaner burn and protect the community air quality, i.e. heavy plastics, Styrofoam, tires, chemically treated wood, etc.

Getting the waste off the ground, containing it, and controlling the burn are essential to maximize the effectiveness and safety of the burn. This can be accomplished with a properly constructed and operated burn unit. A well-designed unit increases airflow to the burn, which increases the temperature of the fire and results in a more complete burn. Incinerator

Solid Waste Burn Unit Options

Incinerator
Burning solid waste in an incinerator with mechanically produced airflow is the method that is most protective of human health and the environment. Incinerators can reach temperatures in excess of 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit, which yields a more complete burn that can reduce waste volume by up to 95%. While incineration is the most effective means of burning solid waste, it is not cost-effective or practical for many rural communities. Incinerators are expensive and require their own housing structure, electricity, regular maintenance, and a significant amount of fuel to operate.

Enclosed Burn Unit by Tok Welding

 

Enclosed Burn Unit
An enclosed burn unit is an effective way to maximize combustion without the need of electricity or an additional fuel source. The smoke stack and spark arrestor limit the potential wildfire risk by containing flying sparks and embers. The unit can be operated and cleaned out by a single person. As with all burn boxes it is very important to clean the ash out regularly to maximize air flow resulting in a hotter, more complete burn.

Burn Cage by Summit Consulting

 

 

Burn Box/Burn Cage
A burn box or burn cage is another common burn unit used in rural Alaska. These units can burn a large amount of waste and can be well suited for villages with larger populations. These types of burn units require heavy equipment to move them into position, to open the doors, and to empty the ash. These units do not burn as hot as a manufactured, enclosed burn units and only provide limited control of flying embers to prevent wildfire risk.

Locally-constructed burn unit

 

Locally-Constructed Burn Unit
A burn unit can be constructed out of local materials. Important design aspects that need to be considered are ease of emptying the ash and size of unit based on population served. All burn units should include spark arrestors, provide good air flow, and keep waste fully contained during the burn. Locally-constructed burn units are generally cheaper than commercially made units; however, they have a much lower life expectancy.

 

Improper Burning

Improper burning can cause serious problems for your community. Most importantly, unattended open burning can cause wildfires. In addition, poorly-managed burns leave unburned waste in the ash and they tend to smolder, which creates more smoke and air pollution. To avoid these problems, waste should not be burned directly on the ground, as it is neither contained nor controlled.

The amount of air pollution produced by burning waste depends on the characteristics of the waste that is burned, the temperature of the burn, and the completeness of the burn (i.e. how much of the waste is fully burned to ash). As a rule of thumb, visible smoke is an indicator of incomplete combustion. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) encourages rural landfills that burn solid waste to use good burn practices to reduce the amount of smoke, air pollution, and unburned waste. Good practices are summarized in the following section.

Recommended Waste Burning Practices

  • Keep waste covered and dry until it is ready to be burned. Moisture slows down the burning process and, because typical household garbage already contains 20%-30% moisture, any moisture added to the waste by rain and snow will only decrease the efficiency of the burn.
  • Remove Styrofoam, plastics, tires, and liquids to the extent possible before lighting the burn. These items create black smoke which is harmful to humans and the environment.
  • Have fire suppression equipment and supplies readily available to extinguish any fire that escapes the burn unit.
  • Do not burn furniture, electronics, batteries, fluorescent tubes, polluted soil, household hazardous waste, household chemicals, or other hazardous materials.
  • Separate glass, metal, and other items that are not combustible to help increase the temperature of the fire and the completeness of the burn.
  • Burn waste only when wind is blowing away from community and any dwellings. Take into account wind direction and speed before lighting the burn. Burning only on days when weather conditions are favorable will help reduce the likelihood of community members coming into contact with harmful smoke from the landfill. Smoke contains dangerous particulate matter and toxins which can damage the respiratory system and may increase the risk of cancer.
  • Do not allow the fire to smolder or to generate black smoke as both conditions are a violation of the ADEC Air Quality regulations. Review your landfill permit for burning stipulations specific to your landfill.
  • Make sure the fire is completely out and the ash has had time to cool off before removing it from the burn unit and putting it in the landfill. This will prevent unintended fires in the landfill.
  • Cover ash with gravel or soil between burns to reduce blowing ash.
  • The effectiveness of burning can be increased by using a fan or blower to force air into the fire. This increases the temperature of the fire and produces a more complete burn. Some burn units are designed to include a fan while others are designed to operate well using only natural airflow. (Remember that the fan only has to move air into the fire. If it is blowing hot ashes out of the container, the fan is running too fast.)

 

DO NOT BURN WASTE ON THE GROUND!

Burning waste on the ground is not allowed at any Class III landfill. The open burning of waste on the ground does not completely burn the waste. Instead, the waste smolders, creating harmful smoke, and can spread the fire throughout the landfill and beyond.

Open burning has caused several wildfires throughout the state. If a wildfire is caused by a fire escaping the landfill, the landfill owner may be liable to reimburse the costs of fighting that fire. These costs can be more than $1 million!  

Print Version

Construction and Demolition

Construction and Demolition waste (C&D) constitutes 25 to 40 percent of the waste disposed in the United States. Proper management of C&D is important to protect workers and can reduce project costs. In planning a C&D project, consideration must be given to material hazards, the salvaging of reusable materials, and to proper disposal options.

Building Survey

Before a demolition or renovation project begins, federal regulations require the identification of any asbestos-containing materials (ACM) or other hazardous materials in the structure. A person trained to identify potentially hazardous materials must conduct and record a building survey of the structure and any contained materials. All hazardous materials must be removed and properly disposed prior to demolition. In particular, ACM must be removed, managed, and disposed in compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) requirements [40 CFR 61, subpart M]. Workplace safety standards and disposal requirements require any contractor to identify and properly manage all ACM; however, the NESHAP standards only apply to commercial structures, institutional structures, or residential buildings with more than four units. For homeowners doing their own demolition or renovation, identifying ACM is also important to prevent exposure to asbestos fibers, which are known to cause cancer and other lung disease.

For all demolitions of commercial structures, institutional structures, or residential structures with more than four units, federal law requires you submit notice to EPA at least 10 days before any demolition begins regardless of the presence of hazardous materials or ACM. More information is available at the EPA Region 10  notification FAQ web page or by calling the EPA Alaska Operations office.

Asbestos

Any potential ACM identified in the building survey must be sampled and tested; if it contains more than 1% asbestos, it must then be categorized as friable or regulated ACM (RACM), or as Category I or Category II non-friable ACM, which are often referred to as non-RACM. These categories determine how the materials must be managed during removal and disposal. Failure to properly identify, remove, and dispose of ACM can expose workers and the public to asbestos fibers, and facility owners and contractors to civil and criminal liability. For more information on managing ACM see our guidance on Asbestos.

Hazardous Materials

Hazardous materials, or other wastes that may cause a potential hazard to human health or the environment, often require special handling and disposal methods under federal laws, including the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Toxic Substances Control Act, and the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act (LLRWPA).

Hazardous wastes commonly found in a demolition project include:

  • Lead-based paint
  • Lead pipe and solder
  • Fluorescent tubes and bulbs
  • Mercury switches and thermostats
  • Paints, solvents, or pesticides
  • PCB-containing transformers or light ballasts
  • PCB-containing paint or caulking
  • Radionuclide-containing smoke detectors and exit signs
  • Refrigerants from air conditioning units.

Alaska does not have any landfills permitted to accept regulated hazardous wastes. However, if you qualify as a conditionally exempt small quantity generator (CESQG) under RCRA you may be allowed to dispose of RCRA hazardous wastes at a permitted Class I or II landfill. Small rural landfills (Class III) are not allowed to accept CESQG waste. Contact your local landfill to determine if they accept CESQG waste, or contact the ADEC Solid Waste Program office for assistance.

Burning C&D

Controlled burning of woody debris and clean wood from construction, demolition, or land clearing projects is allowable in most areas of Alaska. For C&D, “woody debris” means tree limbs, branches, brush, stumps, or foliage that has been cut or cleared from the land; “clean wood” means dimensional lumber that has not been treated with a paint, glue, or preservative. Burning of other C&D is prohibited as it has the potential to create toxic or acid gases. All burning must be conducted in accordance with the requirements of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources (ADNR) Division of Forestry or the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the ADEC Division of Air Quality, and any local regulations. In addition, the burn may not create a nuisance or a human health hazard.

Ash from the burning of clean wood or mixed materials is a solid waste and must be disposed in a permitted landfill. You will need to contact your local landfill for disposal requirements. Ash solely from the burning of woody debris is not a solid waste and is not required to be disposed in a landfill.  For more information on burning requirements, consult the ADNR Division of Forestry or the ADEC Division of Air Quality.

Disposal of ACM and Non-Hazardous C&D

All other non-hazardous C&D and ACM must be disposed in a landfill permitted to accept the waste. Most municipal landfills will accept C&D, and a number of C&D monofills are operated in the state for commercial disposal. It is important to contact landfills directly to determine your disposal options and costs early in the planning process. Most small rural landfills (Class III) cannot accept ACM. In a remote location where no disposal options are available, you may choose to apply to ADEC for a permit or authorization to construct and operate a project-specific landfill.

For a remote project, you may apply for a one-time disposal authorization. These authorizations are limited to project locations that do not have year-round access to a system of connected roads with a total length of 100 miles or more, or where all permitted landfills are more than 100 road miles away or have refused, in writing, to accept the waste. ADEC provides two types of one-time authorizations for remote C&D projects:

  • Authorization for One-Time Disposal of Asbestos Waste. This authorization allows the disposal of up to 250 cubic yards of RACM and non-RACM waste that is generated on the project site.
  • Authorization for One-Time Disposal of Inert Waste. This authorization allows the one-time disposal of up to 1,000 cubic yards of C&D and other inert waste, but does not include RACM.

In rural Alaska, it is important to engage with the local community early in the planning process.  You must ensure that the landfill has a current permit, and that they allow disposal of the C&D in the landfill.  In addition, during the project, providing assistance to consolidate, compact, and cover waste in the landfill is appreciated.

If your project does not meet the location or quantity limitations, you will need to apply for an inert waste or asbestos monofill permit. Contact your regional ADEC Solid Waste Program office for assistance in determining your disposal options.

Waste That Can be Disposed Without an ADEC Solid Waste Permit

Some wastes are exempt from the Solid Waste Regulations as long as they are not mixed with any other wastes or do not cause a health, safety, or environmental problem. Examples of exempt wastes that you might encounter during demolition, renovation, or construction projects include:

  • Land clearing waste, including excavated dirt, rock, soil, butt ends, limbs, stumps, or other foliage;
  • Bricks and mortar;
  • Unpainted Portland cement type concrete and associated steel rebar that cannot be easily removed.

These wastes may not need to be disposed in a permitted landfill if managed properly. More information is available in our Exempt Waste guidance or by calling a regional ADEC Solid Waste Program office. You may also want to check with material recyclers for other non-disposal options for certain materials.

Summary

Consideration of waste management for construction, demolition, and renovation projects early in the planning and bid process is important to ensure a successful project. Identification of disposal options and requirements, including identifying and managing any hazardous waste or ACM, will save time and money and can prevent potentially serious legal consequences. Consideration of material reuse or recycling can also save on disposal costs. Particularly in rural Alaska, it is important to engage the community to determine your disposal options and how your project could provide a benefit for the local community.

Contacts

EPA Alaska Operations Office

907-271-5083
800-781-0983
907-271-3688 Asbestos
907-271-6329 Hazardous Waste

Alaska Occupational Safety & Health (AKOSH)

800-656-4972 Consultation & Training
800-770-4940 Compliance & Enforcement

Alaska Division of Forestry

907-356-5512

ADEC Air Quality

907-269-7562 Anchorage
907-451-2132 Fairbanks
907-465-5127 Juneau

Exempt Waste

Some types of solid wastes are exempt from the Solid Waste regulations and do not require disposal in a permitted landfill. These wastes can be used as fill without approval from ADEC under the conditions below.

These wastes include:

  • Uncontaminated dirt, rocks, and soil;
  • Tree limbs, stumps, foliage, and other woody debris;
  • Unpainted bricks, mortar, Portland cement type concrete (including reinforcing steel that cannot be easily removed);
  • Glass crushed to less than ¾-inch minus;
  • Crushed asphalt, but only if the product is used:
    • As fill material for a building pad or parking area;
    • As road base beneath a parking area or road;
    • As pavement on a building pad, parking area, or road; or,
    • As a material to construct a containment berm for a tank farm

The person disposing of exempt solid waste must comply with the following requirements:

  • The exempt waste may not be mixed with non-exempt waste.
  • The waste may not cause a public nuisance, environmental problem, or a threat to public health, safety, or welfare.
  • The exempt waste may not be placed in surface water (creeks, ponds, etc.) without approval from other appropriate regulatory agencies.
  • The exempt waste may not be placed without landowner approval.

Note: Most construction and demolition debris including dimensional lumber, regardless of treatment, are NOT EXEMPT WASTES. These wastes must be disposed at a permitted facility.

Regulations related to exempt waste 18 AAC 60.005

Link to exempt waste PDF version

Fish Waste

Improper disposal of fish waste from sport fishing, personal use fishing, and commercial fisheries poses a potential risk to the environment and public health and safety. The ADEC Solid Waste Program only regulates the land disposal of fish waste from commercial operations. However, it is important to understand the best management practices for disposing fish waste to reduce nuisances and animal attraction.

Personal Use & Sport Fish Waste

Even for sport and personal use fishing, disposing of fish waste on public or private land is illegal and can result in fines. The Alaska Department of Fish & Game recommends that you clean fish riverside or in port, chop fish carcasses into numerous pieces, and throw them into deep or fast-moving water or use a provided fish grinder. Anglers who remove fish from the fishing site and fillet or process them must also dispose of fish waste in a safe manner:

Fish waste should be taken directly to a permitted landfill that will accept it.

  • The Central Peninsula Landfill in Soldotna accepts fish waste free of charge during the fishing season.
  • Anchorage Regional Landfill, the Central Transfer Station, and the Girdwood Transfer Station accept residential fish waste.
  • Matanuska-Susitna Borough takes bagged residential fish waste at the Palmer Central Landfill and the Big Lake, Butte, and Sutton transfer stations.

If you have local trash pickup, freeze the fish waste to eliminate odors and then put it out of the morning of your trash pickup day. Do not place waste out the night before or put it in commercial dumpsters.

Commercial Fish Waste

ADEC Solid Waste Program allows three methods for managing commercial fish waste on land:

  • Landfill Disposal: Commercial fish waste may be disposed in a permitted landfill willing to accept it.
  • Land Application: Fish waste may be ground and tilled into agricultural or silvicultural land as fertilizer, provided the waste is processed and treated as prescribed in the solid waste regulations [18 AAC 60.010(e)].
  • Composting: Fish waste can be composted to create a usable product. Several successful composting projects have been operated in Alaska. Alaska Sea Grant offers guidance on proper composting operations in Alaska.  Depending on the volume of waste involved, a composting operation may require a solid waste treatment permit or plan approval.

Commercial fish waste placed on land must be carefully managed to minimize pathogens, odors, animal attraction, and contamination of water resources.  Improper management of fish waste can attract wildlife and pose a serious risk to health, safety, and the environment.  Contact the ADEC Solid Waste Program to determine if your project requires an authorization.

Disposal of commercial fish waste in water requires a permit from the ADEC Wastewater Discharge Program.

Related Regulations

18 AAC 60.040(b) A person may not dispose of septage, sewage solids, fish waste, animal manure, or animal byproducts or waste on the ground within 100 feet of a well that produces water suitable for drinking.

18 AAC 60.010(e) Land Application of Fish Processing Waste Subject to 18 AAC 60.040(b), a person who wishes to dispose of organic waste from a commercial slaughterhouse or fish processing waste may apply that waste to agricultural or silvicultural land for soil enhancement purposes if the waste is:

(1) ground up to less than two inches in diameter;
(2) treated by a method described in 40 C.F.R. 503.15, revised as of July 1, 1997, adopted by reference, to reduce the number of salmonella spp. or fecal coliform bacteria present to meet the Class A requirements for pathogen reduction at the time of land application;
(3) incorporated into the soil surface when the waste is applied;
(4) applied at or below the agronomic rate for nitrogen for any crop or vegetation that will be grown on that land;
(5) applied in a manner that does not create an odor nuisance or attract animals or other vectors; and
(6) applied in a manner that ensures that run-off of surface water from the disposal site does not violate the water quality standards in 18 AAC 70.

Link to Fish waste guidance

Formalin in Schools

Formalin is the most common form of formaldehyde found in schools. It is primarily used to preserve biological specimens and typically consists of 3.7% formaldehyde. Formalin presents some health and safety concerns when handled incorrectly, and presents environmental and legal concerns when disposed incorrectly.

Health and Safety Concerns

Both formalin and formaldehyde are suspected to cause cancer, and should be handled with caution. They are severe respiratory irritants. If you can smell them, you are over the recommended exposure levels. Extra precautions should be taken to prevent children’s contact with them due to their higher sensitivity.

Biological specimens are now available in a non-formalin solution. ADEC recommends that schools consider these for future purchases of specimens.

Disposal of Formalin

Disposal of formalin presents a challenge in Alaska, particularly in rural communities. Spent formalin when discarded is a hazardous waste, and care should be taken when disposing of this material to ensure that human health and the environment are protected.

There are products on the market that will neutralize formalin and make it a non-hazardous waste. Neutralization will change the pH of the solution to between 6-9 pH and will dilute the formalin to less than 0.1%. Additional products are available that can convert the neutralized solution into a solid that is safe for landfill disposal. For personal safety, ensure that you comply with procedures and safety information included with the instructions for these products.

Disposal Options:

  • Neutralized and solidified formalin may be disposed in the landfill.
    • Do NOT dispose of un-neutralized or un-solidified formalin in the community landfill.
  • For neutralized formalin, contact your local wastewater treatment facility to discuss your disposal options with their facility. Depending on the amount of formalin to be disposed of, neutralized formalin may be allowed for disposal through the wastewater facility.
    • Do NOT pour neutralized formalin down the drain without authorization from your wastewater treatment facility. Formalin contains methyl alcohol which is a biocide and could harm the “good” bacteria in your wastewater treatment system.
    • NEVER dispose of un-neutralized formalin down the drain
  • For un-neutralized formalin, contact your local landfill to see if they have a household hazardous waste facility that can accept small quantities of hazardous waste. Such facilities will contract with professionals for proper and legal disposal of hazardous waste.
  • If none of the other options are available, you should hire a professional hazardous waste contractor to assist with disposal of formalin.

Link to Fish waste guidance

Hazardous Waste

Learn more about hazardous waste at EPA's Hazardous Waste web pages.

Junk Vehicles

Junk vehicles must either be recycled or properly disposed in a permitted landfill. Vehicles include cars, trucks, airplanes, ATVs, motorcycles, snow machines, outboard motors, etc. The solid waste regulations prohibit the use of junk vehicles for stabilizing slopes or controlling erosion. Not all landfills will accept junk vehicles, in which case the vehicles must be handled by some other means. Contact your local landfill or government office for further information.

Prior to disposal or recycling, the vehicle must have all the fluids drained and batteries removed. The following chart summarizes how to prepare a vehicle for recycling or disposal.

Preparing a Vehicle for Recycling or Disposal

Crankcase Oil
The plug must be removed and all oil drained.
Brake Fluid The master cylinder reservoir must be empty and at least one brake line disconnected.
Transmission Fluid Transmissions, transaxles, and transfer cases must be drained of all fluids.
Rear End Differential Axle housing must be drained of all oil; cover plates and drain plugs removed.
Fuel Tank All gas/fuel must be removed.
Radiator The lower radiator hose should be disconnected and the radiator drained.
Batteries All batteries must be removed.

 

All fluids and batteries removed from a vehicle must be stored safely prior to recycling or disposal. Lead-acid batteries can be recycled; used oil can be burned as fuel in a properly designed waste oil burner, and other fluids should be sent for recycling. Batteries and fluids should be stored in leak-proof covered containers or inside on a pallet with a liner or sorbent to catch leaks. Vehicle fluids should not be mixed together in order to avoid chemical reactions and eliminate the added testing, shipping, and disposal costs of mixed materials. Vehicle batteries and fluids cannot be disposed in the landfill.

Link to junk vehicle PDF version

Lead Based Paint

Lead-based paint (LBP) was commonly used in residential, commercial and institutional buildings until 1978, when the federal government banned its use in residences and public buildings where children are regularly present. This is a concern because lead presents a health risk, particularly in young children.

In 2003, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) changed the federal regulations to increase disposal options for residential LBP waste. The goal was to promote the removal of LBP from residential structures to minimize exposure, especially of children, to lead. The result is LBP waste from residential abatement, rehabilitation, renovation, and remodeling projects is regulated differently than LBP waste from residential demolition projects and non-residential sources.

Residential LBP

Residential LBP waste is waste containing lead-based paint that is generated as a result of abatement, rehabilitation, renovation, and remodeling in homes and other residences. The term LBP waste includes paint debris, chips, dust, and sludges. While the management of LBP during a residential project must follow strict federal requirements, residential LBP waste is considered household (hazardous) waste, and may be disposed at any permitted Class I or Class II Municipal Solid Waste Landfill (MSWLF) without testing. LBP waste from residential demolition activities in which the entire structure is removed does not meet the definition of residential LBP waste and must be disposed as non-residential LBP waste.

Non-Residential LBP

The following rules apply for non-residential LBP waste disposal:

  1. LBP waste from demolition of a residence is not household waste, and must be managed as LBP waste.
  2. LBP waste generated by either renovation or demolition of non-residential structures must be managed as LBP waste.
  3. LBP debris, dust, chips, or sludge wastes are subject to Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) testing to determine if they are a hazardous waste. Wastes with a TCLP concentration for lead of less than 5 mg/L may be disposed at a permitted Class I or II MSWLF or C&D waste monofill.
  4. LBP debris, dust, chips, sludge, or soil wastes that have a TCLP concentration for lead of greater than 5 mg/L must be managed as a hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
  5. Architectural components with LBP in good condition (not flaking or peeling) may be disposed at a permitted Class I or II MSWLF or C&D waste monofill without TCLP sampling.
Lead-Based Paint Polluted Soil

Soils or other materials may become contaminated from sandblasting or natural weathering of surfaces painted with LBP and may be subject to environmental cleanup and special disposal requirements. Please contact ADEC if your project includes or will generate any of these types of wastes.  

Link to print version of lead based paint guidance.

Manure Management

ADEC does not regulate most aspects of manure management unless it is causing potential harm to human health or the environment. However, it is important that manure is stored in a manner that does not cause pollution, attraction to animals or insects, or nuisance odors. If not properly managed, rainwater and snow melt can flow through uncovered manure stockpiles and pollute nearby streams, rivers, and groundwater; animals can become a safety hazard or disease vector; and nuisance odors can become a contentious issue between neighbors.

Manure storage systems should be designed and monitored to ensure that runoff will not create these problems. Small farms may be able to field store manure if the stockpile is managed properly. Larger operations will require a storage structure and more extensive waste management to ensure that impacts are prevented until the manure can be removed for use or disposal elsewhere. In accordance with 18 AAC 60.040(b), all sites used to store manure must be located at least 100 feet from any water body or water well.

Field Storage.jpg

FIELD STORAGE

Best Management Practices for manure stockpiles include:

  • Cover in areas receiving more than 25 inches of annual precipitation or where run-off might occur;
  • Store no longer than 1 year; and,
  • Manage to prevent the escape of waste or run-off that may cause pollution.

 

 

STORAGE FACILITIES

All storage structures should be:

  • Designed and operated to contain all manure until it can be removed
  • Constructed with a concrete floor and walls on at least two sides to prevent run-off
  • Designed so that leachate drains to a storage tank or other disposal collection facility
  • Where possible, located out of sight and downwind from public places and neighboring residences
  • Covered in areas receiving more than 25 inches of annual precipitation

Manure Management.jpg

Other Resources

Note: Above images courtesy of British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture, Field Storage of Agricultural Waste.

Related Statutes and Regulations

Accumulation, storage and disposal of solid waste, including animal waste, must be conducted in a manner to protect public health and in accordance with Title 46 of the Alaska Statutes (AS 46) and Title 18, Chapter 60 of the Alaska Administrative Code (18 AAC 60). The following statutes and regulations apply:

  • AS 46.03.710: “A person may not pollute or add to the pollution of the air, land, subsurface land, or water of the state.”
  • AS 46.03.810(a)(2): “A person is guilty of creating or maintaining a nuisance if the person

(2) allows to be placed or deposited upon any premises owned by the person or under the person’s control garbage, offal, dead animals, or any other matter or thing that would be obnoxious or offensive to the public or that would produce, aggravate, or cause the spread of disease or in any way endanger the health of the community.”

  • 18 AAC 60.010(a): “A person may not store accumulated solid waste in a manner that causes

(1) A litter violation under 18 AAC 64.015;
(2) the attraction or access of domestic animals, wildlife, or disease vectors;
(3) a health hazard; or
(4) polluted runoff water.”

  •  18 AAC 60.040(b): “A person may not dispose of septage, sewage solids, fish waste, animal manure, or animal byproducts or waste on the ground within 100 feet of a well that produces water suitable for drinking.”

Link to print version of Manure Management guidance

Marijuana Waste

The regulations governing the marijuana industry in Alaska are overseen by the Marijuana Control Board and are found in Title 3, Chapter 306 of the Alaska Administrative Code (3 AAC 306). The regulations specific to the disposal of marijuana waste are codified in 3 AAC 306.740. Marijuana waste is defined in the regulations to include:

  • Marijuana plant waste, including roots, stalks, leaves, and stems that have not been processed with solvent; (Note: marijuana waste that has been processed with a solvent, or solvent waste is considered a hazardous waste and must be disposed out of state at an appropriate facility);
  • Solid marijuana sample plant waste in the possession of a marijuana testing facility; and
  • Other waste as determined by the Marijuana Control Board.

Although the Marijuana Control Board may approve other disposal methods, the regulations require that when marijuana waste is disposed, it must be made unusable by grinding the plant waste and mixing it with at least an equal amount of other materials prior to delivery to a landfill. Without prior approval by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, marijuana waste may only be disposed at a permitted Class I or Class II landfill willing to accept the waste. The decision as to what material(s) to mix with the waste should be based on where the marijuana waste will be disposed.

  • If the marijuana waste will be brought to a composting facility or to some other organic waste treatment facility, the marijuana waste should be mixed with at least an equal amount of compostable materials such as food waste, yard waste, or vegetable-based oils or grease.
  • If the marijuana waste will be disposed in a landfill or through a solid waste incinerator, the marijuana waste should be mixed with at least an equal amount of non-compostable materials such as paper, cardboard, or plastic.

The operator of the composting or treatment facility, the landfill, or the incineration facility should be contacted prior to delivering the marijuana waste to confirm that the waste will be accepted at that facility and to determine if the facility has any additional acceptance requirements for marijuana waste.

Regardless of the disposal option used, the marijuana facility that generated the waste is responsible for ensuring that all marijuana waste disposals are appropriately recorded in the marijuana inventory tracking system required under 3 AAC 306.730 and the Marijuana Control Board is notified at least three days before making the waste unusable and disposing it.

Marijuana Tracking System

Link to print version of marijuana waste guidance

Medical Waste

Medical waste is generated by hospitals, dental clinics, physician’s offices, medical laboratories, medical research facilities and veterinary clinics as the result of treatments, immunizations, surgeries, diagnostic procedures, autopsies, or other medical procedures. Medical waste can also be generated through body modification shops such as where body piercing, tattoo, or permanent cosmetic coloring is practiced. In addition to these facilities, personal health care and veterinary care at home can generate medical waste.

What is Medical Waste?

Medical waste includes anything that is potentially pathogenic or infectious (i.e. could carry or transmit disease). Examples of medical waste include:

  • Blood and other bodily fluids;
  • Blood-soaked bandages, compresses, etc;
  • Tissues, such as organs or biopsy samples;
  • Used and unused hypodermic needles from the injection of insulin or other prescribed drugs;
  • Tattoo and body piercing needles;
  • Home kidney dialysis filter, bags, and equipment;
  • Automatic lancets used for blood sampling;
  • Contaminated gloves or other protective materials; or
  • Culture materials and swabs.

Medical Waste from Facilities

Medical waste from facilities must be properly treated prior to disposal to prevent transmission of disease. Under state regulations, acceptable treatment processes are those that involve decontamination, incineration, or sterilization of the waste. Hospitals, clinics, medical laboratories, veterinarians, home health providers, and body modification shops are responsible for properly treating and disposing of all medical wastes. Each facility should have a procedure in place to ensure that medical waste is collected and treated prior to disposal. Facilities that do not have their own autoclave or incinerator should collect and ship medical waste to an appropriate treatment facility prior to disposal.

Medical Waste from Home Health Care

Medical waste can also be generated in the home by people who are collecting samples, treating a disease condition, recovering from surgery, or recuperating after an injury in their own home. If you have a home health nurse, they may be able to collect the medical waste from your home on their regularly scheduled visits. This waste is potentially harmful, and should not be thrown in the garbage like regular trash.

If you are managing diabetes, allergies, or another medical condition yourself or for someone in your home, contact your local pharmacy, medical service provider, health clinic, or hospital for disposal options. In most cases, your health care provider will accept home health waste and can treat and dispose of the waste for you. A second disposal option is to contact a local medical waste disposal company. They sometimes accept home medical waste at little or no charge. Mail back companies are a third disposal option. They typically provide the waste container, a box for mailing, and shipping costs. For a list of these companies, search for ‘mail back medical waste’ on any Internet search engine such as www.google.com.  

Medical Waste from Home Pet Care

Medical waste also includes any medication, instruments or syringes from treating pets for conditions such as diabetes, allergies, wound treatments and postoperative care or even routine vaccines. For home animal related medical waste, contact your veterinarian office. Most offices will take back used sharps and medical waste for proper disposal from medications or treatments they have prescribed.

Other Disposal Options for Home Medical Waste

ADEC prefers that medical waste be disposed through medical service providers or medical waste disposal professionals. However if you do not have access to a medical waste service provider, clinic that is able to treat medical waste, or a medical waste disposal company, you must handle medical waste carefully to protect yourself and others such as waste collection workers and landfill workers. Place all sharps and potentially infectious waste in a puncture-resistant container with a sealing lid like a one-liter soda bottle, one gallon juice container, or plastic laundry detergent container. Clearly label the container as medical waste (example “SHARPS: DO NOT OPEN!”), seal tightly, and tape closed for added safety. The container will keep the waste away from others and protect against accidental punctures or cuts.

Additional Resources for Sharps Disposal

Link to print version of marijuana waste guidance

Prescription and Veterinarian Medicine

Unused, unwanted or expired medication including veterinary medications are potentially harmful to animals, people, or the environment and must be carefully disposed of to ensure others do not find and use the medication. In addition, proper disposal will minimize the potential adverse environmental effects to water resources, as well as domestic animals and wildlife, which may occur if these medications are incorrectly disposed. Disposal options are described below.

Return Human Medications to the Pharmacy, Hospital or Physician’s Office
Many pharmacies will accept unwanted medications for safe disposal. Contact your local pharmacy to determine options. In some cases, pharmacies, hospitals and doctor’s offices have information for mail-back programs with envelopes available for a fee that can be used for disposal of medicines. This is an environmentally safe and preferred method of disposal.

Return Veterinary Medicines to the Veterinarian’s Office or Clinic
Most veterinary clinics will accept unwanted veterinary medicines for safe disposal. Contact the veterinary clinic that you obtained the medicine from to determine if they will accept the medication. Disposal through the veterinary clinic is the best method of disposal.

Prescription Drug Take-Back Programs
Many law enforcement agencies in Alaska offer free prescription drug and over-the-counter (OTC) medicine drop-off programs. Contact your local law enforcement or state trooper office for local drop-off locations. You can also contact the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Registration Call Center at 800-882-9539 or the online Search Utility to find a registered collection receptacle near you.

Search the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day website for upcoming events.

Throw It in the Trash - Don’t Flush It Down the Toilet or a Drain
ADEC prefers that when possible, people should take advantage of take-back programs. However, if that option is not available, most unused or expired medication can be thrown out with the garbage. To help ensure that discarded medications actually get to the landfill, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends removing the discarded medication from its container and mixing it with “undesirable substances” such as coffee grounds, mustard, or kitty litter. Also, concealing the medication inside other containers will help prevent others from finding and using it. The ADEC recommends removing the label or other identifying information before disposing of empty prescription medicine containers.

FDA Recommends Some Medications be Flushed Down the Toilet

As a general rule, ADEC prefers that medications are disposed through a take-back program, or if not available, in the trash as described above. However, there are certain medications that can be especially harmful to a child, pet or anyone else if taken accidentally. You should take extra care that these medications are disposed of in a safe manner. These medications should only be disposed through a take-back program or by being flushed down the toilet and NOT disposed in the trash. You can find a link to these medicines at FDA's website.

Link to print version of marijuana waste guidance

Polluted Soil

The ADEC Solid Waste Program defines polluted soil as: Soil that is placed into a landfill, that is not a regulated hazardous waste, and that was excavated during a spill response or leaking underground storage tank action or to comply with an approved contaminated site cleanup plan under 18 AAC 75 or 18 AAC 78; or, a residue or other material that is placed into a landfill and that is not a regulated hazardous waste but contains a hazardous substance in a concentration exceeding the applicable soil cleanup levels set out in 18 AAC 75.341, Table B1 or Table B2.

Disposal of polluted soil can require careful planning and coordination for proper management. Disposal of polluted soil in a landfill requires meeting the requirements outlined in the Solid Waste Regulations, Title 18, Chapter 60, section 025 of the Alaska Administrative Code (18 AAC 60.025), and effectively communicating with the landfill and the Solid Waste Program.

Disposal of Polluted Soil Flowchart (PDF 84K)

While polluted soils can be disposed in some landfills – no landfill in Alaska is required to accept polluted soil even if it meets all 18 AAC 60.025 regulatory requirements. Contact the landfill to determine their disposal requirements and costs prior to starting your cleanup project. Do not assume landfill disposal is an option without first asking the landfill if they will consider accepting it.

LANDFILL DISPOSAL OPTIONS FOR POLLUTED SOIL

Class I Landfill or Industrial Waste Landfill

Class I landfills and industrial waste landfills are the most highly regulated solid waste facilities in Alaska. They require a liner, leachate collection system, and environmental monitoring to ensure that any potential hazardous constituents are contained. Polluted soil can be disposed in any of these permitted landfills that have fully compliant liner, leachate, and monitoring systems without prior approval from the ADEC Solid Waste Program or a demonstration under 18 AAC 60.025(d-e). However, landfills may impose their own restrictions or testing requirements (e.g., polluted soil generated outside of the Borough or Municipality is not acceptable, or may require special conditions) so check with the landfill operator and ADEC Solid Waste Program before beginning your project to confirm the landfill as a disposal option.

Class II Landfill

Class II landfills are smaller and generally more remote than Class I landfills, do not typically have liners or leachate collection systems, and perform more limited environmental monitoring. Many Class II landfills do not accept polluted soil due to their limited disposal capacity and concerns with additional monitoring for hazardous constituents that may be required. Polluted soil may be disposed in a Class II landfill only with prior approval from the landfill and the ADEC Solid Waste Program. Consideration is made on a case-by-case basis and requires a demonstration in accordance with 18 AAC 60.025(d-e).

Class III Landfill

Class III landfills serve the most remote communities in Alaska. They are unlined facilities with very limited capacity and environmental monitoring. Class III landfills are unique in that disposal or beneficial use of polluted soil is allowed but primarily intended to facilitate the cleanup of small spills within the local community. Disposal of polluted soil in a Class III landfill must be carefully considered to weigh the relative risk and benefit to the community.

The ADEC Solid Waste Program will approve disposal of polluted soil from a petroleum spill in a permitted Class III landfill if the following specific criteria are met:

  • The polluted soil must originate from the cleanup of a single petroleum spill incident (not consolidated from multiple sites) within the community served by the Class III landfill.
  • The volume of the polluted soil is less than 500 cubic yards.
  • The soil contains only petroleum contaminants [gasoline range organics (GRO), diesel range organics (DRO), and residual range organics (RRO)] that do not exceed the following maximum concentrations:
    • GRO - 900mg/kg
    • DRO - 2,000mg/kg
    • RRO - 4,500mg/kg
  • A request using the Disposal of Low-Level Petroleum Polluted Soil Approval Request Form for a Class III Landfill,with laboratory data report(s) attached, is submitted and signed by both the landfill owner and the generator of the polluted soil.

If all of the above criteria cannot be met, the polluted soil may still be considered for beneficial use in a Class III landfill. However, approval will be granted only on a case-by-case basis as long as:

  • A demonstration can be made in accordance with 18 AAC 60.025(d-e).
  • The proposed use of the polluted soil will provide a direct benefit (not merely financial) to the community. The polluted soil can be used (e.g. for building berms or as interim or final cover) without changing the existing operations, closure, or expansion plan for the landfill.
18 AAC 60.025(d-e) Polluted Soil Demonstration

A site-specific demonstration under 18 AAC 60.025(d-e) is intended to provide assurance that there will be no potential impacts to nearby surface water or groundwater, to human health, and to the environment from the contaminants in the polluted soil. This requires analytical sampling of the polluted soil and, as appropriate, either fate and transport modeling or a leachability assessment for the contaminants of concern within the polluted soil. Both the generator of the polluted soil and the landfill owner must sign the demonstration, it must be certified by a qualified groundwater scientist, and submitted to the ADEC Solid Waste Program for approval.

Analytical Data

Sampling must be representative of the entire volume of the polluted soil and must adequately characterize all soil contaminants and their concentrations. A Sampling and Analysis Plan (i.e. QAPP) should be developed based upon generator knowledge or site history. If such a plan was not previously approved as part of an ADEC Contaminated Sites (CS) cleanup action, it must be approved by the ADEC Solid Waste Program. Please refer to ADEC’s Field Sampling Guidance (PDF 1.89M) for guidance on proper field screening, sample collection, preservation, and analytical methods. For a CS cleanup sites, additional sampling may be required for excavated soil prior to disposal.

Sample results should be compared to the most stringent soil cleanup standards listed in 18 AAC 75 Tables B1 and B2 and must consider cumulative risks in identifying the contaminants of concern. For each contaminant of concern, the demonstration must include a site-specific fate and transport prediction that anticipates the maximum likely migration of that contaminant and must consider the potential effects on public health, safety, and welfare and the environment. Contaminant fate and transport can be demonstrated using fate and transport modeling software or, for some contaminants, may be demonstrated by comparing Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) results to the most stringent water quality standard (see Leachability Assessment for Petroleum Soil below).

Fate and Transport Modeling

Fate and transport predictions must estimate the maximum potential migration for the identified contaminants of concern in the polluted soil. To be approved, the demonstration must show that the contaminants of concern will not leach to surface water or ground water or otherwise pose a threat to human health, safety, or welfare, or to the environment. This requires assessing the analytical data in terms of the physical, biological, and chemical processes that affect the fate and transport of these contaminants in the landfill. Contaminant concentration data must be obtained through sampling and analysis. Site specific landfill data required to run the model may include, but is not limited to, precipitation, temperature, soil type, hydraulic conductivity, permeability, groundwater depth, and surface water locations.  

Institutional Controls

When a landfill accepts polluted soil, the owner/operator accepts the responsibility and liability for any impacts it might cause. The landfill owner/operator must agree to implement institutional controls necessary to provide long-term protection of public health, safety, and welfare, and the environment. This may include additional access restrictions, cover requirements, or other controls as necessary.

Leachability Assessment for Petroleum Polluted Soil

If the only contaminants in the polluted soil are petroleum-related constituents, as confirmed by analytical data, ADEC recommends, in lieu of fate and transport modeling, using the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) (SW-846 Method 1311) to evaluate leachability of those constituents (BTEX and PAHs). The TCLP is specifically designed to assess potential contaminant mobility in the highly acidic conditions found at most landfills. The potential impact to groundwater can be assessed by comparing TCLP results to the most stringent standard listed in 18 AAC 70.020(b), and Table I, Table II, Table III, and Table V (column A and column B) from the Water Quality Criteria Manual (PDF 689K) (collectively, the Alaska Water Quality Standards). A work plan should be submitted to the ADEC Solid Waste Program for approval prior to sampling to avoid potential resampling. Please note that additional analyses may be required for soils contaminated with leaded gasoline.

References
  • 18 AAC 60.025 – Polluted Soil
  • 18 AAC 70 Water Quality Standards
  • Alaska Water Quality Criteria Manual for Toxic and Other Deleterious Organic and Inorganic Substances
  • 18 AAC 75 Oil and Other Hazardous Substances Pollution Control
  • ADEC Field Sampling Guidance, 2016
  • 40 C.F.R. 261.24 Toxicity characteristic
  • RCRA Waste Sampling Draft Technical Guidance (EPA530-D-02-002), 2002

Link to print version of Polluted Soil Disposal guidance

Radiological Waste

Radiological materials and waste are strictly regulated at both the state and federal level:

  • The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is responsible for regulating radiological materials in the State of Alaska. NRC regulates medical, industrial, and academic uses of nuclear materials through a combination of regulatory requirements, licensing, safety oversight (including inspection and enforcement), operational experience evaluation, and regulatory support activities.
  • The State Radiological Health Program within the State Public Health Laboratories is responsible for the safe use of radiation sources within Alaska, which includes evaluating radiation hazards, conducting surveys/investigations, inspections of facilities using radiation sources (such as hospitals and dentist offices), and training.
  • The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation is responsible for surveys and disaster response to radiation in the environment.
Accident or Spill Reporting of Radiological Materials or Waste

Alaska state law requires all oil and hazardous substance releases be reported to the Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC). During business hours call the nearest DEC response team office:

  • Central (Anchorage) 907-269-3063
  • Northern (Fairbanks) 907-451-2121
  • Southeast (Juneau) 907-465-5340
  • Outside normal business hours call: 1-800-478-9300

For Federal reporting requirements see the National Response Center website.

Disposal of Radiological Waste
  • There are no NRC radiological waste permitted facilities in the State of Alaska and it must typically be disposed out of state.
  • Alaska is a member state of the Northwest Interstate Compact (NWIC) on Low-Level Radioactive Waste (LLRW). Low-level radioactive waste generated in Alaska (e.g. radioactively contaminated pipes, sand blast grit, protective clothing, tools, filters, rags, medical tubes, etc.) must be disposed at the commercial radiological disposal site operated by U.S. Ecology Incorporated in Richland, Washington in accordance with the NWIC.
  • Drilling waste containing naturally-occurring radiological material (NORM) may be re-injected into an EPA permitted Class I injection well or shipped out of state for proper disposal.
  • The ADEC Contaminated Sites Program may allow for onsite disposal of NORM generated from mining activities as part of their management of a cleanup action. Note: regulation of mill tailings is covered under the Nuclear Materials Program.

Tritium-Containing EXIT Signs

Self-illuminating EXIT signs containing the radioactive gas called tritium may not be disposed of as normal trash. They must be shipped out of state for proper disposal. Tritium-containing EXIT signs can be identified by their required labeling as containing radioactive materials or by their characteristic glow in the dark without a power source. To dispose of a sign properly, a general licensee must transfer the sign to a specific licensee, such as a manufacturer, distributor, licensed radioactive waste broker, or licensed low-level radioactive waste disposal facility. Within 30 days of disposing of a sign, the general licensee must file a report to the NRC and the State of Alaska Liaison Officer. The regulatory requirements for tritium exit signs can be found at 10 CFR Part 31.5.

Smoke Detectors

Smoke detectors containing radiological materials will be labeled as such. Homeowners may dispose of their smoke detectors along with household trash for disposal at the landfill. Businesses must ship them out of state or return them to the manufacturer for proper disposal.

Other Radiological Wastes That May be Disposed at an Alaska Landfill

No landfills in Alaska are currently permitted to accept commercial radiological waste, but some household sources, which are exempted from regulation, may be disposed in the landfill:

  • Short-lived nuclear medicine radioisotopes with a half-life of less than 65 days from patients' homes. These may include paper towels, dishes, tableware, bedding and anything else touched by a patient.
  • Household items containing naturally-occurring radioactivity, such as fertilizer, gypsum, and sheet rock.
  • Household consumer products such as watches with luminescent dials, smoke detectors, pottery, gas lantern mantles (Coleman lanterns, e.g.), and optical lenses for cameras, glasses, binoculars, telescopes, etc.
Sewage Lagoon Closure

Sewage lagoons are authorized and operated under the wastewater regulations in Title 18, Chapter 72 of the Alaska Administrative Code (18 AAC 72). However, sewage lagoon closures in which the sludge is left in place must meet the requirements for closing a sewage solids monofill under the solid waste regulations in 18 AAC 60.470.

Prior to closing the lagoon in place, a sewage lagoon closure plan must be approved by the Solid Waste Program. The closure plan must be submitted at least 60 days before the lagoon is scheduled to be closed and must include the following components:

  1. A general description of the facility, including the site topography, geology, climate, and surface and groundwater hydrology.
  2. A description of the anticipated post-closure use of the property.
  3. A description of how public access to the lagoon will be restricted for at least three years.
  4. A map of the area within 500 feet showing major topographical, geological, hydrological and biological or man-made features, including drinking water wells or intakes.
  5. A site plan and cross-sectional drawing of the lagoon.
  6. A description of the final cover, including installation of at least two feet of soil cover, grading for adequate drainage, and revegetation.
  7. For a lined lagoon, a discussion of how the lagoon will be capped, or the liner removed and disposed, so that water does not continue to accumulate within the closed lagoon.
  8. A description of how the closure demonstration requirements of 18 AAC 60.490 will be met.  
  9. A copy of the deed or another legal document that identifies the landowner.
  10. If the operator of the lagoon is not the landowner, a signed written statement or copy of a lease agreement showing that the landowner consents to the permanent presence of the sewage solids monofill on the property and any associated conditions required by the department.
  11. A post-closure monitoring plan that meets the requirements of 18 AAC 60.490 and 60.800-860. The normal post-closure monitoring period is five years. The plan will include:
    • Annual visual monitoring
    • Methane monitoring in buildings closer than 500 feet to the lagoon, if the lagoon contains more than 2,500 cubic yards of waste.
    • Surface water or groundwater monitoring if this was required during the active life of the lagoon.
  12. A closure plan review fee of $490.

Treated Gravel From Well Drilling Operations

OVERVIEW

The oil and gas exploration and production industry in Alaska drills subsurface wells to explore for and extract oil and gas. Drilling waste, consisting of gravels, drilling muds, and liquids, is a by-product of this industrial activity. In general, drilling wastes are disposed by either reinjection into permitted wells, or by disposing of them in permitted drilling waste landfills. Several oil and gas companies have expressed interest in minimizing the amount of drilling waste requiring disposal by treating this waste, and segregating out beneficial portions of the material for potential re-use as gravel.

This activity would have two benefits:

  1. Reduction of the amount of waste requiring disposal; and
  2. Reduction in the amount of gravel that must be mined from existing sources for construction projects.

REGULATION OF DRILLING WASTE

Drilling waste is classified as a solid waste under State of Alaska Solid Waste Regulations Title 18, Chapter 60, Section 990 of the Alaska Administrative Code (18 AAC 60.990). Re-use of gravel resulting from treatment of drilling waste requires an exemption from regulation as a solid waste under 18 AAC 60.005(e) and 18 AAC 60.005(c)(14).

PERFORMANCE STANDARD FOR EXEMPTION OF TREATED GRAVEL FROM REGULATION AS A SOLID WASTE

Treated gravel resulting from drilling operations will be considered to be exempt from State of Alaska Solid Waste Regulation (18 AAC 60) by ADEC, per the exemption criteria in 18 AAC 60.005(e) and 18 AAC 60.005(c)(14), provided that the following procedure is followed, and the listed performance standard is met. The procedure is as follows:

Treatment and Sampling Procedure:

  1. Drilling waste must be treated to remove fines and contaminants.
  2. The gravel portion shall be segregated from the fines and liquids, and be stockpiled in a lined storage area.
  3. The gravel shall be sampled, on a per well basis, as follows: one three-point composite sample shall be taken for the first 50 cubic yards of gravel produced, then one additional composite sample shall be obtained for each additional 50 cubic yards of gravel produced.
  4. Samples shall be analyzed for metals using the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) for the RCRA 8 metals: Arsenic, Barium, Cadmium, Chromium, Lead, Mercury, Silver and Selenium.
  5. In addition, the samples shall be analyzed for Diesel Range Organics using Method AK102.
  6. This list of analytes may be increased or decreased on a site-specific basis by ADEC.


Performance Standard:

  1. Analytical data results shall be compared to the following standards:
    Analyte Standard
    Arsenic
    100 μg/L
    Barium
    20,000 μg/L
    Cadmium
    50 μg/L
    Chromium
    1,000 μg/L
    Lead
    150 μg/L
    Mercury
    20 μg/L
    Silver
    1,000 μg/L
    Selenium
    500 μg/L
    Diesel Range Organics
    100 mg/Kg
  2. If all sample results meet these criteria, the gravel is exempt from regulation per 18 AAC 60.005(c)(14) by reference to 18 AAC 60.005(e), with the limitations listed below.
  3. If a sample fails the listed criteria, additional samples (a minimum of 8) of the stockpiled gravel may be collected and analyzed. A statistical analysis shall be run on all results from a given stockpile, and the upper 95% Upper Confidence Limit (UCL) shall be compared to the listed standards. If the upper 95% UCL does not exceed the standard, the gravel is exempt from regulation, with the limitations listed below.

Use of Exempt Material:

This performance-based exemption from Alaska Solid Waste Regulations allows oil and gas exploration and production operators to use gravel for road and pad construction, berm construction, backfill for excavations, and other construction projects on lands owned, controlled, or operated by the company.


BASIS FOR STANDARDS

Metals
The standards chosen are based on a number 10 times the drinking water maximum contaminant level (MCL), using the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP). The TCLP test is designed to mimic acid leaching of waste in a municipal landfill. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous waste levels measured using the TCLP that are listed in 40 CFR 261.24 were developed with the intent of being protective of drinking water. These levels were based on the drinking water MCL, with a dilution/attenuation factor of 100 applied. The TCLP test results represent a worst case scenario that will not be seen in actual field conditions, since washed gravels will be exposed to precipitation infiltration only, not the harsh acidic conditions used in the TCLP test.

Diesel Range Organics
The standard chosen for diesel range organics is based on the most conservative cleanup criteria listed in ADEC Contaminated Sites regulations (18 AAC 75.341), which will allow for less restrictive re-use of the gravel.

PLAN SUBMITTAL

A drilling waste treatment and reuse plan, indicating how the above procedures, standards, and uses will be met, must be submitted to ADEC for review at least 30 days prior to the expected drilling date, with the appropriate fee for a solid waste treatment facility plan review from 18 AAC 60.700, Table I-3.

Used Cooking Oil

In Alaska, options for disposing of commercial or large quantities of used cooking oil and grease are limited. Disposal is difficult because used cooking oil is a liquid and the solid waste regulations restrict the disposal of liquids in landfills. Other disposal methods can also be problematic. Open burning of used cooking oil causes black smoke, which is prohibited. Using it as fuel in most standard heating systems will cause black smoke and soot and may damage the system. Pouring used cooking oil down the drain will clog pipes and damage wastewater or septic systems.

How to Recycle Used Cooking Oil

DO NOT pour it down the drain! Available options will vary from place to place. Recycling of used cooking oil is encouraged where the opportunity is available. Possibilities for recycling include:

  • Pet Foods and Animal Feed – Pet food manufacturers, farmers, and dog mushers add the oil to foods.
  • Energy Source – Used cooking oils can be burned in some incinerators, or converted to a biodiesel fuel for use in generators or diesel engines.
  • Consumer products – Used cooking oil can be used to produce soap, cosmetics, glues, and other consumer products.

Some options for recycling of used cooking oil that currently exist within the state are listed below. If the used cooking oil cannot be recycled within the state, it must be collected and shipped out of state for proper disposal or recycling.

Disposal and Recycling Options for Alaska:

Anchorage and Mat-Su

  • Municipality of Anchorage Solid Waste Services accepts quantities up to five gallons from residential customers. Contact 907-343-6262 for information. 
  • Commercial cooking oil and grease in the Anchorage area can be recycled into biodiesel through Alaska Waste. Call 907-563-3717 to get more information about scheduling pick-up of uncontaminated commercial cooking oil and grease.
  • Mat-Su Borough Landfill accepts up to 5 gallons of used cooking oil from residential customers and up to 10 gallons from commercial customers at its transfer sites and at the landfill. Contact 907-745-9838 for more information.

Fairbanks

  • Fairbanks North Star Borough Landfill accepts used cooking oil from both residential and commercial customers. Contact 907-459-1482 for more information.

Kenai Peninsula Borough

  • Soldotna Central Peninsula Landfill accepts used cooking oil in containers up to 5 gallons from both commercial and residential customers. Contact 907-262-9667.

Southeast

  • Ketchikan Landfill accepts both residential and commercial used cooking oil for a fee. Contact 907-225-2370.
  • City of Juneau Household Hazardous Waste Program accepts both residential and commercial used cooking oil. Call 907-780-6601 for information. 

Statewide

  • Contact local dog mushers who may use limited quantities of oil in their dog feed.
  • Contact electrical and wastewater utilities who may be able to use the oil as supplemental fuel for boilers or generators.
  • Contact landfills operating household hazardous waste collection centers.