Environmental Health & Safety Compliance Blog

Main Accumulation Area Compliance: Time for a Refresh?

Posted by Rebecca McDaniel on Dec 21, 2009 2:07:00 PM

By Alexa Kaubris, Chemist

With all the rules and regulations, things can get confusing when you have an entire room filled with chemicals. If you’re overwhelmed don’t worry you’re not alone. Here are some helpful hints and reminders when inspecting or reorganizing your MAA in Massachusetts. Don’t forget, not only are there a ton of rules but they change from state to state.

1. Every hazardous waste bottle in the MAA needs a label with a) the words “Hazardous Waste” b) the constituents of the container written in full (no abbreviations or chemical formulas) c) the hazards of the bottle identified (corrosive, ignitable, etc.) d) the date the container was filled in its respective satellite accumulation area (SAA) or the date accumulation began if you fill drums in the MAA.

Do: Make sure you can see this label.

Do: Make sure the container is closed tightly.

Do: Inspect the containers for leaks and cracks.

Do: Make sure the label is on the side of the containers (not on the top).

Hint: It’s always a good idea to label empty drums and containers in the MAA for clarity.

2. These bottles should be segregated out into secondary containment bins so that incompatible chemicals won’t react and an underlying impermeable surface will be ensured.

3. The room itself needs to have an impervious underlying surface, a base that slopes or elevated containers in case of a leak, and run-on needs to be prevented unless containment has excess capacity. Basically, if you have a spill, you need to make sure the other chemicals you are storing in the MAA won’t be sitting in the mess.

Do: Check expansion joints on concrete pads.

Do: Make sure there are no drains in the MAA.

Do: Make sure every hazardous waste container in the MAA is in a designated area for waste. Putting tape on the floor is a quick way to delineate the waste area. Everything else should be stored elsewhere in the MAA.

Hint: For best management practices any material labeled as non-hazardous should be kept separate for the hazardous material.

4. Watch out for aisle spacing! If the waste is not reactive or ignitable all you need is enough room to inspect each row. If the waste is ignitable or reactive you need four feet as required by the NFPA chapter 30.985(3).

Hint: If you’re tight on space, one solution is to make a double row of drums back to back in the middle of the room and then give 4ft to either side. Another is using a pallet to separate containers if you need to stack them.

Fast Facts: Reactives/Ignitables need to be stored 50 feet from the property line. The fire department does not like Reactives/Ignitables to be stored in underground rooms like basements (waste or not). The idea behind this being safety of personnel that would have to respond to a fire in a basement when there are limited entrance/exits.

Good luck and have fun! Be sure to take before and after pictures. Make-overs are the best!

Tags: Hazardous, MAA, Main Accumulation Area, Compliance