Characteristics of Hazardous Waste - Reactivity

Reactive wastes are identified by the EPA hazardous waste number D003.

Reactive wastes are those considered unstable, or that generate toxic gases when mixed with water.

Wastes capable of detonation at standard temperature and pressure, or if heated under confinement, are D003.

Waste capable of releasing more than the following levels of toxic gas (@pH 2 to 12.5) are regulated as hazardous waste:

  • Total available cyanide - 250 mg HCN/kg waste
  • Total available sulfide - 500 mg H2S/kg waste.

The Characterization and Assessment Division of the Office of Solid Waste recommends that the determination be made by acidifying the waste to pH of 2 and quantifying the gas collected via a scrubber. The cyanide determination can be made using a modified Method 9010 (SW- 846).

Often, reactive wastes at laboratories are cyanide or sulfide containing wastes -- or result from spring cleaning (i.e., disposing of old stocks of reactive chemicals). Other wastes which are commonly considered to be reactive include: acetyl chloride, chromic acid, hypochlorites, organic peroxides, perchlorates and permanganates.

261.23 Characteristic of Reactivity