Used Oil Program

Most used oil in Utah is burned as a substitute fuel for energy recovery, which means it is burned to produce a product, such as asphalt road material. Because it has been used, used oil may contain many more contaminants than virgin oil. EPA has looked at this issue closely, and has determined that only certain contaminants pose any significant threat to public health or the environment. As a result, EPA has established limits for the maximum contaminant concentrations for the contaminants of concern. These limits were set such that the emissions resulting from the burning of used oil containing these contaminants, at or below these limits, will pose no more threat to public health or the environment than the emissions resulting from the burning of a cleaner- burning fuel, such as virgin oil or diesel. These maximum contaminant concentrations, including a limit on the minimum flash point (a safety consideration) that a used oil fuel may have, are referred to as the used oil specifications.

Constituent/PropertyAllowable Level
Arsenic5 parts per million
Cadmium2 parts per million
Chromium10 parts per million
Lead100 parts per million
Flash Point100° Fahrenheit
PCBs<2 parts per million*
Total Halogens1000 parts per million**

NOTE: Specification is for Total Metals, not Toxic Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP).

Used oil that meets all the parameter values in the specifications is referred to as on-specification used oil. Used oil that does not meet all the parameter values in the specifications is referred to as off-specification used oil, except when either of the following two conditions apply:

* PCBs 50 parts per million

Used oil is regulated as a toxic waste under the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA), or 40 CFR 761. For more information about used oil as a regulated TSCA waste, refer to the EPA TSCA regulations.

**Total Halogens > 1000 ppm

Used oil may be regulated as a hazardous waste under 40 CFR, Parts 260 through 266, 268, 270, and 124. For more information about when used oil is regulated as a hazardous waste, refer to Regulation of Used Oil as a Hazardous Waste.


For more information about the Used Oil Program, please contact Ted Sonnenburg (tsonnenburg@utah.gov), (385) 499-0980.

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