NYMPP: Section 1 - Mechanical Activities
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Recycling waste
antifreeze on-site may reduce your monthly hazardous waste totals and can minimize the regulations that you are required to comply with by reducing your hazardous waste generator status.

New York Sea Grant's
Marina Pollution Prevention Web Site

Section 1:
Mechanical Activities
- Antifreeze

Potential Environmental Impacts

Antifreeze can pollute groundwater, surface water and drinking water supplies if dumped, spilled or leaked, and is harmful to marine and aquatic life. While in an engine, antifreeze can become contaminated with lead or fuel to the point where it must be managed as a hazardous waste. There are two types of antifreeze. Antifreeze with ethylene glycol, a greenish-yellow, odorless, sweet-tasting chemical, poses a serious health hazard to humans and animals if ingested. Antifreeze with propylene glycol, which is less toxic, but often marketed as nontoxic, is recommended for use.

Best Management Practices

  • Segregate used antifreeze from other wastes. Label the container "Waste Antifreeze."

  • Use propylene glycol antifreeze (usually pink or orange) which is less toxic than ethylene glycol (usually green) where appropriate. Sell propylene glycol in your ships store and recommend its use to your customers.

  • Recover antifreeze used to winterize systems and either recycle or dispose using a licensed waste hauler. (Look under "Waste Reduction, Disposal, and Recycling Services, Industrial" in your local phone book to locate a permitted hauler near you.)

  • Recycling options for antifreeze include:

    1. Purchase on-site antifreeze recycling equipment (for examples of recycling equipment, click here) and recycle at your facility. Conduct a hazardous waste determination (i.e., test the residue or filter cartridge) at least one time to verify that the waste is not hazardous before recycling on-site. Keep a copy of the test results in your files. (For more about making Hazardous waste determinations New York, click here, pdf).

    2. Contract with an on-site mobile recycling service that is permitted by the state to recycle antifreeze.

  • 3. Contract with a hauler that recycles the antifreeze off-site (for examples of haulers click here) If recycling off-site, use a state-permitted hauler for transportation to a permitted facility for recycling, treatment, storage or disposal. Provide well-marked, coverable containers which are in good condition to collect antifreeze from customers.

  • Use drip pans and funnels when transferring antifreeze to minimize spills and drips.

  • Store antifreeze in a container that can be completely drained with a wide opening. Keep antifreeze storage containers closed at all times. Provide containment to prevent spills from entering ground water or storm water. For examples of suitable storage and containment products, click here.
  • Wear eye protection, clothing that covers exposed skin and rubber gloves when transferring antifreeze. Pour slowly and carefully to avoid splashing.

  • Never mix antifreeze with other chemicals.

Regulatory Issues

  • Waste antifreeze can be either hazardous or non-hazardous, depending upon the levels of contaminants it contains (the most common contaminants are lead and benzene). In order to determine which is the case, the generator must either have their waste tested or utilize reliable "knowledge of process" information for the waste (if available) [40 CFR 262.11, click here] Such information could include testing by haulers, or studies by industry trade groups. For more information on New York hazardous waste testing requirements, click here, pdf.

  • Antifreeze which is hazardous waste must either be recycled or disposed of via a permitted hazardous waste hauler. While stored on-site, it must be managed in accordance with hazardous waste storage requirements [40 CFR 262.11, click here]. For more information on New York's Hazardous Waste Regulations and storage requirements, click here, pdf.

  • Antifreeze which is not hazardous waste is still considered a nonhazardous regulated waste, and must be either recycled or disposed of via a permitted waste hauler. In New York, non hazardous waste antifreeze may be subject to Chemical Bulk Storage Regulations (click here, pdf) and storage requirements (click here).

  • Antifreeze may not be discharged to storm drains, septic systems or sanitary sewers or to surface waters without authorization from the state. A hazardous waste determination must be conducted on any materials used to clean antifreeze spills [40 CFR 262.11, click here].

  • If there is a stormwater discharge from your facility and you use antifreeze outdoors, you may have to register for a General Permit for the Discharge of Storm Water Associated with Industrial Activity ("Storm Water General Permit"). For more information on stormwater permitting in New York, click here