What are the RCRA 8 Metals?

What are the RCRA 8 Metals?

RCRA 8 Metal Limits


In order for a waste type to be categorized as a hazardous waste (and regulated as such), it must exhibit at least one of four characteristics: toxicity, ignitability, corrosivity, or reactivity. It’s a long list, and covers everything from solvents to sludges. Among the list of wastes considered hazardous because of their toxicity, you’ll find heavy metals.

RCRA monitors eight different metallic elements, commonly referred to as the “RCRA 8’s”. These heavy metals include: arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, selenium, and silver.

Each metal has a designated degree of concentration to determine whether or not the waste type is characteristically hazardous. The following table includes the metal type, the hazardous waste code, and the allowable limit in waste according to the EPA.

Heavy Metal Hazardous Waste Code EPA Allowable Limits
Arsenic D004 5.0 ppm (mg/L)
Barium D005 100.0 ppm (mg/L)
Cadmium D006 1.0 ppm (mg/L)
Chromium D007 5.0 ppm (mg/L)
Lead D008 5.0 ppm (mg/L)
Mercury D009 0.2 ppm (mg/L)
Selenium D010 1.0 ppm (mg/L)
Silver D011 5.0 ppm (mg/L)

In order for a waste type to be land-disposed (the faster and less expensive option), it must typically undergo the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) test. This analytical method simulates the leaching process that would occur naturally within a landfill, and then allows for testing of the leachate sample.

If the level of contamination in the TLCP results is below the EPA Allowable Limit (listed above), the waste can be accepted at a standard landfill.  If, on the other hand, the level of contamination exceeds the EPA Allowable Limit, the waste would need to be disposed of as hazardous waste.

Understanding the regulations surrounding hazardous and non-hazardous waste is the first step towards total compliance. For more information on how ECOFLO can assist you in that journey, use this link to get in touch with us.