Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCB) Management Plan

Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB) is a toxic environmental pollutant made of organic chlorine compound and was largely used as a coolant fluid, stabilizer in paint and cement and in carbonless copy paper.

PCBs are non-biodegradable and need to be decontaminated and treated. They can find their way to the environment as a result of manufacturing, disposal or use, and accidentally during storage or transport. Materials containing PCBs should be handled, stored, transported and disposed of in the safest and proper method.

In order to protect the environment from the harms caused by PCB materials, the Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council (ANZECC) has created some guide rules and regulations. The regulations state that;

Transportation of scheduled PCBs must be done in as directed by the ADG Code and should meet all the conditions provided and needed by the agency. The other legislative requirements should also be observed.

Also, scheduled PCBs should be stored in line with the needs of dangerous goods and legislation. Other important legislation should also be observed which, where possible, includes AS 1940 – The Storage and Handling of Flammable and combustible liquid (1993).

Non-scheduled PCB material/waste should be transported and the directions described in the ADG code observed, ensuring that any provisions applying to diluent. Other conditions needed by the agency and other legislative requirements must be observed.

The non-scheduled PCB materials/waste should be stored in accordance with the needs of dangerous goods legislation and also according to other important legislation that applies to the diluent which, where possible, includes AS 1940 – The Storage and Handling of Flammable and combustible liquid (1993).

The Control of Workplace Hazardous Substances as published by Worksafe Australia shall control PCBs in the workplace.

In emergency cases, the holders of scheduled PCB material/waste should have a strategy to reduce risks. They will come up with emergency containment and clean up procedures to cater for any accidental release of PCBs into the environment. These procedures shall be in accordance with the guidelines of the agency. The procedure guidelines for the US Environmental Protection Agency shall be used where specific Commonwealth, Territory and state requirements are absent.

Scheduled PCB material and waste treatment and disposal

In order to ensure proper PCB management, it is important to have a good plan for the treatment and disposal of the materials. ANZECC gives the following guidelines

Scheduled PCB material and waste shall be treated wherever practicable

Scheduled PCB waste stored before 1 Jan 1996 shall be handed over before 1st January 1997 for treatment

Scheduled PCB waste shall be treated

  1. I) In accordance with an approval from the agency and must be in line with the National Protocol
  2. II) Using methods that only leave treatment residues for which approved methods of disposal are available.

III)    By approved and licensed technologies that reduce the release of water to the environment.

  1. IV) Without intentional dilution that can lead to scheduled PCB waste becoming non-scheduled waste.

The facility license shall contain the specified clean up actions to be taken in case of an accidental release of PCBs to water, land or air, in order to ensure environmental safety.

PCB disposal

Disposal of scheduled PCB waste and non-scheduled PCB liquid shall not be done on landfill or in another place in the environment.

Non-scheduled solid PCB that may be disposed of to a landfill is that containing less than the threshold concentration with the guidance note attached to plan 15.

Electrical equipment and materials suspected to contain PCBs should be separated and the agency and landfill manager should be advised to do so.

Contact Coopers Environmental for effective Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) management.

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