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PCBs - Polchlorinated bipenyls - What to Do After A PCB Spill - Presented Free by EHSO

What To Do After a Spill!
PCB Information, Regulations & Guidance

Under what conditions do I need to report a PCB spill?

Spills must be reported to the National Response Center (1-800-424-8802), if they contain one pound or more of pure PCB (Aroclor). Spills must be reported to EPA's Toxic Substances Branch if they directly contaminate surface water, sewers, drinking water supplies, grazing lands, or vegetable gardens. Spills must be reported within 24 hours of discovery.

Where can I dispose of PCBs?

Call the Region 8 office at 1-800-227-8917 or 303-312-6312 for a list of commercially-permitted PCB disposal sites.

How do I know if a transformer or capacitor contains PCBS?

Transformer: Look on the manufacturer's nameplate for a PCB trade name. EPA will mail you a list of trade names. A metal nameplate placed on the transformer by the manufacturer should contain the PCB trade name, serial number, contents, etc. If it does not appear on the equipment, assume the transformer contains PCB's. All liquid-filled transformers with nameplates that have the word "oil" on the nameplate, and which lack information that the owner tested the transformer(s) for PCBs, must be assumed to be PCB-contaminated.

Capacitor: Nearly all capacitors manufactured before 1979 contained nearly pure PCBs.

How do I test for PCBs?

The EPA requires testing by gas chromatography (GC) for documentation of compliance with the regulations. Field test kits may not be used for documentation, but may be useful for general surveys for the detection of PCBs.

How do I dispose of fluorescent light ballasts?

Fluorescent light ballasts contain PCBs if they do not have a manufacturer's mark on them saying "No PCBs." The black material (known as potting compound) in the ballast that has a distinct, unpleasant odor, and drips upon failure, is not PCB, but it may be contaminated. The PCBs are contained in a thimble-sized capacitor buried somewhere in the potting compound. The capacitor, which is regulated under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), contains about an ounce of nearly pure PCB.

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