One of the most important aspects of handling, transporting, and properly disposing of hazardous waste is obviously safety. Contingencies especially need to be in place in case something unexpected happens during transport, and one such security measure is an emergency response number included on the hazardous waste manifest. Lacking a number or improperly providing a number not only poses a health and safety risk, but it also makes the waste generator and transporter liable to consequences for federal noncompliance.

Emergency Response Numbers and Hazardous Waste Mainifests

Does a Emergency Response Number Apply to All Hazardous Waste?

Yes. An emergency response number needs to be included on every manifest in order to be properly transporting hazardous waste. It doesn't matter what industry the hazardous material originates from—whether it be biomedical, environmental, dry cleaning, or any other. To transport hazardous material, an emergency number needs to be provided on the hazardous waste manifest.

Will Any Number Suffice?

Not necessarily. The emergency response number needs to conform to several requirements to be in full federal compliance.

  • Emergency Contact Number and Emergency Contract Number

One common mistake is only providing an emergency contact number on a manifest. To be in compliance, however, a contact and a contract number are both required on all hazardous waste manifests.

A contact number is to get in touch with someone who can help in the event of an accident. An independent contract number is to specify the waste generator and that generator's location.

A common mistake in that regard is only providing a generic contract number. Even if a generator works with an independent transport company and provides all relevant SDSs to that company, the generator still needs an independent, identifying contract number with that other company.

  • Twenty-Four-Hour Number

The emergency number must be monitored at all times while the material is transported. Obviously an accident isn't necessarily going to happen during standard business hours, so the number must always be manned and valid.

  • Area Code

The emergency number must include an area code (when relevant). This ensures the number is reachable even if the material is transported out of area.

  • Knowledgeable Contact Person

The person at the other end of the emergency contact number must be knowledgeable about the hazardous material being transported. The person must understand what the material is and know how to communicate to the emergency response team the best way to go about cleanup.

Why Do These Numbers Matter?

If something were to happen to a truck or transport vehicle while carrying hazardous waste, there needs to be a point of contact to help the emergency response team mitigate the accident's negative impacts (to both the environment and people). This paperwork also helps identify the hazardous material so emergency responders know how to handle the situation.

Additionally, complying with these federal regulations helps legally and financially protect the waste generator and waste transporter. Because the stakes and consequences of improperly transporting this kind of waste are so high, a generator often opts to work with a waste management company that has specific experience in that arena and knows, therefore, how to properly transport hazardous waste.

For more information about these emergency response numbers and what the law requires to be in compliance, please feel free to contact a representative of MCF Environmental Services, a full-service waste management company.