Strict regime covers pest control waste disposal

Companies and organisations carrying out pest control work need to be sure that they comply with the relevant Acts and Regulations controlling the management and disposal of generated waste materials. This is because waste disposal is a critical part of the work of all pest controllers and the need to act in an environmentally responsible way is a fundamentally important aspect of the duty of care the industry owes to its customers and the general public. Careful management is needed so that the effect of waste on the environment and on human health is minimised says Philip Dalgliesh, Company Chemist at Killgerm Chemicals Ltd.

The disposal of unwanted pesticides and pesticide packaging is covered by several sets of regulations.

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Pollution Prevention & Control Act 1999 PCOs must dispose of controlled and special waste in accordance with Regulations made under these Acts to fulfil obligations under the Waste Framework Directive 75/442/EEC.

The recently enacted Landfill (England and Wales) Regulations 2002 amend the Duty of Care Regulations to require transfer notes to identify waste by reference to the European Waste Catalogue (EWC) six-digit code. Introduction of the Landfill Regulations has also had the effect of restricting the types of waste acceptable at certain sites.

Other regulations presently include: The Controlled Waste (Registration of Carriers and Seizure of Vehicles) Regulations 1991; The Environmental Protection [Duty of Care]Regulations 1991 and The Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994 Other new regulations are currently being discussed.

Of particular concern to PCOs involved in fly control will be the requirement to treat fluorescent tubes, including UV lights, as hazardous waste. PCOs involved in rodent or bird control will also need to pay attention to the current legislation regarding the safe disposal of animal carcasses.

Suppliers licensed

Under the current rules, only persons designated as registered waste carriers and who hold a relevant licence issued by the Environment Agency can carry controlled waste, such as unwanted pesticides and packages, which have been produced by third parties.

Duty of Care transfer notes must be generated whenever controlled waste is passed from one person to another. Certain particulars concerning the waste have to be described on this document.

Distributors receiving such waste are operating as transfer/storage stations and as such their operations require licensing under the Waste Management Licensing Regulations. Site operations must be under the control of a technically competent person ie a person who holds a relevant Certificate of Technical Competence issued by the Waste Management Industry Training and Advisory Board.

Additionally the site has to be licensed under the Environment Protection Act 1990. The Environment Agency issues licences and operates the enforcing system.

Pest controllers

There is an exception to the need to hold a waste management licence, which is relevant to pest controllers.

Empty containers, sachets, contaminated personal protection equipment (PPE) and other items generated, either at a pest control company's or at a customer's premises are the pest control company's waste. As such, it may be transported in the company vehicle without the need for a carrier's licence. Particular contractual agreement might lay down ownership and responsibility of certain items like, for instance, fluorescent tubes.

When the PCO comes to remove the items, bait stations, pest carcasses, etc from a customer's premises, then the PCO is deemed to be the producer of the waste. Even if the contract between the pest controller and his customer indicates that the customer owns the said products, the waste has been produced by the PCO. Once again, the pest control company is not required to hold a waste carrier's licence as it is their waste they are carrying. Under these circumstances, there would be no need for a transfer note between the PCO and his customer as in true terms, there is no transfer between them.

Different considerations might need to be applied where a PCO was engaged by a client to remove a previous contractor's in-place pest control products or other contaminated debris.

Paragraph 40 of Schedule 3 of the Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994 lays down that a person, such as a pest controller is allowed to store up to 50m3 of waste, collected from his customers' premises, on his own premise provided that: the place where it is stored is not a site designated or adapted for the reception of waste with a view to it being disposed of or recovered elsewhere; such storage is incidental to the collection or transport of the waste; and the waste is not kept for longer than three months.

Pest Controllers are therefore exempt from the licensing need where the waste has been generated as part of their business activities on their clients' properties. However, collection and/or storage by a distributor would not be considered "incidental" under the exemption shown.

The exemptions from waste management licensing described earlier do not apply to "special" waste and so PCOs would still need a waste management licence to store such waste at their premises.

Because of the importance of observing the requirements of the regulations, Killgerm Chemicals Limited is a holder of the necessary waste disposal licences and the author has qualified as a technically competent person under the regulations.

Disposal of pest carcasses

Changes in current UK waste regulations have affected the way in which rodent bodies should be disposed of. Carcasses are not considered "special" waste as the level of bait likely to be fatal to a rat is not sufficiently high. However, rats and other similar pests are likely to be carriers of infectious diseases such as leptospirosis (Weil's disease), a pathogen to humans. Such waste has therefore been classified as "clinical" waste. Rodenticide labelling has previously stated that carcasses should be burned or buried. However, if they are now to be categorised as clinical waste, the carcasses must be treated before disposal. Product labelling has therefore been revised following consultation by the Advisory Committee on Pesticides with the Environment Agency, local authorities and HSE's inspectorate to read:

"Search for and remove rodent bodies at frequent intervals during treatment. Collect and dispose of any remaining rodent bodies after treatment. You must comply with legislation regarding the correct disposal of waste." Rat carcasses have now been allocated a European Waste Category (EWA) by the Environment Agency. The most appropriate catalogue entry for the waste depends on the reason why the pest control is occurring:

  • Chapter 18 02 02 - wastes whose collection and disposal is subject to special requirements in order to prevent infection.
  • Chapter 18 02 03 - wastes whose collection and disposal is not subject to special requirements in order to prevent infection.
  • Chapter 18 02 02 is relevant when pest control is driven by disease prevention, and
  • Chapter 18 02 03 when pest control is not driven by disease prevention. A risk assessment should therefore be carried out to assist in the classification of the waste as clinical or otherwise.

Arrangements for managing clinical waste are based on categorisation of waste into groups which represent different hazards. Animal carcasses are included in Group A. Wastes in this group must be treated and made safe at a licensed site before disposal.

Under health and safety law, employers who generate clinical waste must ensure that the risks are properly controlled.

Treatment of waste

Correct treatment of clinical waste can reduce the risk of infection during handling and transport. It may also prevent it being classed as clinical waste under environmental legislation, however, the producers of such waste must be able to prove to the Environment Agency that it is safe and non-infectious, and cannot be distinguished from other non-clinical wastes. The type of treatment depends on the amount and type of waste.

Rat carcasses

Treatment of rat carcasses involves spraying with a non-hazardous biocide, such as PX-Parvo (The Environment Agency has confirmed that this action prevents the need for this waste to be classified as clinical). Treatment needs to be precisely controlled so that the same standards are consistently achieved. Correct treatment will increase the range of final disposal options.

For clinical waste to be treated at a particular site - a waste management licence is required. In order for a site to obtain a licence, it must satisfy certain criteria.

Specialist's role

A specialist waste disposal contractor may therefore be required for removal of rodent bodies. Killgerm's waste management site licence allows us to assist customers to dispose of rodent carcasses using Killgerm's Controlled and Special Waste Disposal Scheme.



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