Guidance for Evaluating Beneficial Reuse of Hazardous Secondary Materials

In a prior post I provided guidance and reference information from EPA on the beneficial reuse of NON-hazardous secondary materials.  Despite the lengthy reference document, beneficial reuse of non-hazardous secondary material (that would otherwise be non-hazardous waste) is relatively easy when you have a legitimate use for the material.  While the process and details for the beneficial reuse of hazardous secondary materials (materials that would otherwise be hazardous wastes) are more involved, the process does not have to be overly complicated.  The process encompasses the the whole of the process for non-hazardous materials, but necessarily adds to the process.  Unfortunately, EPA does not provide a similar document for guidance on hazardous secondary materials.  Nevertheless, with hazardous materials EPA is still primarily concerned about i) the legitimacy of the beneficial reuse AND ii) about the safety and environmental impact of such use.  In order to assist generators in their assessment, I have developed 6 key questions that cover most of the regulatory considerations, which generators should address when considering beneficial reuse of hazardous secondary materials.  Those 6 questions follow with additional detail provided after each question.

1. Can the material be used “as-is” for the intended purpose or does something have to be done to it first in order to make it usable (40 CFR 261.2(e))?  Use “as-is” is the key to Altiras Chemicals and Altiras Fuels distribution businesses.  Materials that can be used as they are produced are generally exempt from regulation as a waste.  Materials that are filtered, treated, neutralized, distilled, etc. must generally be treated as wastes and therefore use is not permitted unless some other exemption or exclusion allows it.  Acceptable uses include, but are not limited to, use in a blend that is then directly used, use as a reagent in a reaction, or use in a direct application such as a solvent.

2. Is the use legitimate (40 CFR 260.43)? If the material can be used in a manner that meets the requirements above, then the use must be legitimate.  One good test of this requirement is whether the value of the material that is being used actually improves the economics of the process using it.  For example, if a material is being used in a solvent blend and such use improves the net economic value of the blend, then use is likely legitimate.  However, if such use in this example reduces the net economic value of the blend,  then it may not be legitimate.  Some users have historically tried to circumvent this concept by getting paid by generators to take materials.  While such payment does not necessarily mean the use is illegitimate, it is certainly cause for scrutiny.

3. Does the use constitute disposal, involve burning the material, involve reclamation, or is it speculative (40 CFR 261.2(c)(1)-(4) and (e)(2))?  If the material is applied to the land or used as an ingredient for a product that is applied to the land, then such use MAY be prohibited.  However, such use may also be perfectly acceptable if material that it is a substitute for is normally used to make products applied to the land.  Examples are sulfuric and nitric acid.  So long as the used acid does not contain toxic materials not normally in prime acid, and does not have some other characteristic or listed hazardous designation, then use for a product that is applied to the land can be perfectly legitimate and acceptable.  Separately, if the material is burned and it is not fuel itself, then such use could be prohibited, with a few exemptions.  If the material is reclaimed it is generally regarded as a hazardous waste (with few exclusions).  Finally, materials that are accumulated without a clear use or with excessive time before use are generally also considered wastes. There are always some special circumstances that can allow for legitimacy, but unless the use is clear and the timing reasonably short, the use will likely be considered speculative by EPA.

4. Does the material contain hazardous constituents or characteristics that are not normally present in materials that are normally used for the intended purpose (40 CFR 261.2(d)(3)(i)(B) and 260.43(a)(4))? This question, along with the next two questions, is really a matter of good product stewardship.  The specific chemicals species that are listed by EPA are not all that should be evaluated.  Good product stewardship means every chemical constituent that is not normally present in the alternative prime product should be evaluated.  The material should be analyzed over multiple batches to ensure statistically significant data to understand what other species must be evaluated. Once identified, they must be compared with the listed species from EPA and the characteristics must also be evaluated to make sure the material is not ignitable, corrosive, or reactive when the alternative prime product is not.  Once this step is take, the material must be further evaluated as described below.

5. Will the product be handled with the same or greater precautions as other materials used for the same purpose 40 CFR 260.43(a)(3)?  Similar methods of handling and management are good indicators that the material is consistently similar to the alternative prime material. However, materials should NOT be handled in the same way if they have characteristics or constituents that warrant a greater level of care.  Conversely, hazardous secondary materials that are legitimately being used as raw materials should not be managed as if they were hazardous wastes, for example, by being put into RCRA tanks.

6. Does the use of the material create any risks to human health or the environment that the normal alternative products do not have (40 CFR 261.2 (d)(3)(ii))?  Again, this question relates to good product stewardship.  The focus here should be on differences between the hazardous secondary material and the normal raw material.  For example, sulfuric acid that is being beneficially reused is going to be characteristically corrosive, just like prime sulfuric acid.  However, a used sulfuric acid that contains lead, arsenic, or another heavy metal at levels greater than prime acid should be managed in such a way that those metals do not pose a risk to human health or the environment.  Presence of those metals at higher levels than prime does not necessarily preclude beneficial reuse, but it is often best to seek concurrence from EPA and the state agency prior to beneficial reuse.

The above discussion is by no means comprehensive, and really just scratches the surface of things that should be addressed when considering the beneficial reuse of hazardous secondary materials (that would otherwise be hazardous wastes).  In all cases, the generator should be thorough in this evaluation and carefully and clearly document all aspects of the use since the burden of proof of appropriate beneficial reuse always lies with the generator of the material.

For more information on this blog, Altiras’ beneficial reuse solutions, or for specific questions on beneficial reuse, please contact Todd Pencarinha at 713-568-3651 or by email at


Sustainability Requirements for Altiras Recovery Capital Projects

Altiras Recovery pic
Altiras Recovery

A veteran business leader and beneficial reuse expert, Todd Pencarinha is president of Altiras and oversees the operations of it’s multiple subsidiary companies. Pencarinha has been a driving force in the beneficial reuse industry since 2003. In 2010, Todd Pencarinha partnered with long-time friend and serial entrepreneur Steven Marshall. Since that time, with Pencarinha’s technical and business market guidance and Marshall’s strategic leadership and financial acumen, Altiras has created five business units, all dedicated to beneficial reuse. These units include Altiras Industrial Services, Altiras Chemicals, Altiras Fuels, Altiras Recovery, and Altiras Energy. The first 3 companies were the first to be created by the Pencarinha and Marshall team and each one focuses on a different markets for “as-is” beneficial use of chemical and petroleum coproducts, byproducts, and used materials. However, in some cases, these “secondary materials” are simply not suitable for use as the currently exist. It was for this reason that Pencarinha and Marshall launched Altiras Recovery in 2014. Initially, the new company was focused on specific beneficial reuse projects that required significant capital investments. As the company achieved success in those initial projects, Pencarinha desired to push further into the realm of capital projects for beneficial reuse. As a result, Altiras Recovery is now a research and development company that is also a sort of “new business incubator” for Altiras. Pencarinha continues to lead the charge on development of new opportunities and personally evaluates all projects that have potential for Altiras Recovery capital investment.

Pencarinha screens potential investments to ensure they meet the Altiras Recovery guidelines, which states that 1) the byproduct, coproduct, or used chemical (ie. the new raw material) should be used to manufacture a commodity or specialty product, 2) there must be adequate mutual economic benefit for Altiras and the original generator or the raw material, 3) the raw material, the process making it, and the potential products must all have a sustainable future, 4) the market for the ultimate finished product must be stable, 5) Altiras’ own beneficial reuse RCRA experts must be able to identify a clear regulatory pathway, and finally, 6) Pencarinha says there must be a solid cultural fit between the Altiras and its partner(s).

Prior to investing, Todd Pencarinha and R&D Manager Mark Myers perform R&D work at the company’s newly developed research lab near its corporate headquarters in Houston Texas. Pencarinha says he seeks potentially disruptive technologies to recover materials and/or to make new products for new applications. However, Pencarinha admits that sometimes only rather ordinary methods are necessary and many opportunity exists simply because no one was previously willing to take the risk in solving the problem. Following the initial assessment and R&D work, Todd Pencarinha leads the business case development and pulls Steven Marshall in to help as necessary for strategic, legal and other financial considerations.

For more information on Altiras Capital Project opportunities, please contact Todd Pencarinha at 713-855-2122 or at

Altiras invests in Pipeline Construction services business

Monday, May 1, 2017  Houston TX – Altiras Holdings CEO, Steven Marshall, announced today that its subsidiary, Altiras Industrial Services, has acquired an experienced pipeline construction service group that will do business as Altiras Pipeline Construction.  The group will deliver services that are customized to specific customer pipeline project needs including pipeline integrity and maintenance, new construction, replacement or relocation of existing pipeline, and removal of abandoned pipe.  Altiras Pipeline Construction will implement long-term relationships based on professionalism, safety, integrity and transparency.  The commitment and expertise of Altiras Pipeline Construction’s experienced team will reduce burdens on pipeline owners and limit owners’ liability on complex jobs.  The specific pipeline services will include:

  • Emergency Response; Spills and Leaks
  • Pipeline Integrity and Maintenance
  • Pipeline Re-coat
  • Pipeline Take up Relay Projects
  • New Pipeline Construction
  • Hydro Tests
  • Pipeline Repair and Maintenance
  • ROW Maintenance, Restoration and Erosion Control
  • Field Asbestos Abatement
  • Pipeline Asbestos Abatement
  • Tank Demolitions
  • Fabrication
  • Painting

About Altiras:

Altiras is a beneficial use and industrial service company in the chemical, oil and gas and water markets, headquartered in Houston, Texas, that provides innovative solutions for customers throughout the world. Altiras’ beneficial use solutions create value for suppliers from chemicals and petroleum products that might otherwise be disposed, while providing quality-assured, alternative products to customers at significant savings to traditional prime products. Altiras’ industrial services provide cost effective solutions and regulatory compliance for pipeline construction, remediation and waste disposal customers.  For more information, please visit:


For additional information please contact:

Todd Pencarinha, President
T: (713) 568-3651

Altiras develops new solution for hazardous secondary materials that cannot be used “as-is”

In accordance with the definition of solid waste, under 40 CFR 261.2(e) Materials are not solid waste when recycled if they are used or reused as ingredients in an industrial process to make a product or as effective substitutes for commercial products, provided the materials are not being reclaimed.  Since these materials cannot be reclaimed or process first, we refer to this as “use as is”.

Altiras Chemicals was founded on the basis of “use as is” use of secondary chemicals (byproducts, coproducts, used, offspec, and surplus chemicals).  If these secondary chemicals contain listed chemicals or have characteristics that, as a waste, would make them hazardous, they may be considered “hazardous secondary materials” by EPA (40 CFR 260.10).  Altiras Chemicals has been very successful in beneficial reuse of hazardous secondary materials when the materials could be used as is.  Unfortunately, there are many of these materials that simply cannot be used as is.  Sometimes the color is too dark, the material might contain other constituents that would cause problems for the intended use, or there may be “toxics along for the ride.”  Because of these issues, many of these materials have continued to be managed and hazardous wastes, even though they may have had very high intrinsic value.

Fortunately, Altiras Recovery has developed solutions for many of these types of products that cannot be used as is.  The solution involves careful coordination with generators of the materials, regulatory authorities, and Altiras’ expertise in RCRA regulations, process development, and product markets.  If you have hazardous secondary materials that have high intrinsic value, but no market value due to some problem constituent or characteristic, please contact Todd Pencarinha at 713-568-3651 or by email at