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Waste Analysis of Antifreeze - Sump Sludge - Oil Absorbent

My apologies for cross posting and please forward to appropriate listservs.



Waste Analyses for Auto Dealerships

The Waste Analyses for Auto Dealerships project conducted TCLP analysis on used antifreeze, used oil absorbent, and floor drain sump sludge at Iowa automotive dealerships. The intent of the project was to collect enough data to produce a study report that dealerships could use in lieu of an individual test from each shop on each waste if the data supported such a statement. Three major findings were discovered from the extensive project:

1) The study did not support a generalized statement that automotive dealerships should no longer make a hazardous waste determination through TCLP analysis on these wastes. Some toxins were present in each of the waste streams.


2) Overall the study identified that shops that continue to use chlorinated brake cleaner have the potential to generate waste that is toxic due to the presence of Tetrachloroethene at levels above the 0.7 milligrams per Liter (mg/L) regulatory threshold in antifreeze and sump sludge.


3) Antifreeze samples can show erroneous TCLP test results for Arsenic and Selenium when using the traditionally TCLP methodology. Using the Graphite Furnace procedure is the most reliable TCLP analytical method for antifreeze.  See summary at Requesting Antifreeze TCLP Test


Fact Sheets

Waste Analysis Project Summary
Antifreeze Waste Analysis Study
Oil Absorbent Waste Analysis Study
Sump Sludge Waste Analysis Study

Data Tables

Antifreeze Heavy Metal Data Sheet
Antifreeze VOC Data Sheet
Oil Absorbent VOC Data Sheet
Sump Sludge VOC Data Sheet


56 Iowa automotive dealerships participated in the study. The project was extensive, 190 TCLP tests were conducted for approximately $58,000, with 73 antifreeze samples being taken due to the testing anomaly discovered. Oil absorbent as either floor dry or oily mats contributed 57 data points and sump sludge the remaining 60 results. The Waste Analysis Project maintained client confidentiality in the data analysis of the sample results.


Wastes that have the potential to be a hazardous, due to the presence of toxins, require the TCLP testing protocol to determine whether the waste is hazardous or non-hazardous. These rules are part of the federal regulations for hazardous waste management. In Iowa, the US EPA regional office in Kansas City governs hazardous waste. All Iowa businesses are required to abide by the standards.


Recommendations for Iowa Automotive Dealerships

Oil Absorbent
Sump Sludge
Analytical Laboratories Able to Perform TCLP Testing
Requesting Antifreeze TCLP Test

See subsequent posting for a brief data summary.


Go easy on me Gang, I spent two years working on this……




Sue Schauls

Program Manager


Iowa Waste Reduction Center

University of Northern Iowa

Suite 113, BCS Building

Cedar Falls, Iowa 50614-0185

319/273-6592 (direct line)

319/273-8905 (office)