Used Oil Management

The following provides an overview related to commonly asked questions about the proper management and disposal of used oil regulated by Part 279 of Delaware’s Regulations Governing Hazardous Waste.

Disclaimer: The information below is intended to serve as a guide to responsible waste management and does not replace the requirements of Delaware’s Regulations Governing Hazardous Waste (7 DE Admin. Code 1302).

What is Used Oil?

Used oil includes both petroleum and synthetic oil that through use becomes physically or chemically contaminated. Used oil does not include oil that has been mixed with hazardous waste.

Who is Regulated?

Businesses that generate used oil are “used oil generators” and are required to manage all used oil appropriately.

Used oil generated from household activities, and farmers who generate an average of 25-gallons or less per month of used oil, are exempt from the used oil regulations when managed properly.

Exempt generators of used oil are encouraged to use best management practices, including accumulating used oil in containers labeled “Used Oil,” and keeping the containers closed except when there is a need to add or remove oil.

Used oil generated from household activities may be taken to a DSWA Drop-off Center or Household Hazardous Waste Collection event for recycling.

Used oil cannot be placed on the ground, poured into a water body, or used as a dust suppressant.

Managing Materials Containing or Contaminated with Used Oil

A material (e.g. oil filter) that contains or is contaminated with used oil is used oil and must be managed under the used oil regulations in Part 279.

However, if the used oil is drained or removed from such material, the material itself is no longer regulated as used oil provided no visible signs of free-flowing oil remain and the contaminated material is not burned for energy recovery.

If applicable, the material must be managed as hazardous waste or scrap metal. The used oil that is drained or removed from the material remains subject to used oil regulations.

Managing Used Oil Mixed with Fuels

Provided the mixture was not intentional, mixtures of used oil and fuels are subject to the used oil regulations and must be managed per Part 279 of the regulations.

Managing Used Oil Mixed with Hazardous Waste?

Mixtures of used oil and hazardous waste must be managed as hazardous waste.

The used oil regulations presume that used oil containing more than 1,000 parts per million of total halogens has been mixed with listed hazardous waste and therefore must be managed as hazardous waste. This presumption can be rebutted by showing that the used oil does not contain hazardous waste, for example, by use of an analytical test.

Permits to Transport Used Oil

Generators of used oil may self-transport their used oil without obtaining an EPA identification number or a Delaware Hazardous Waste Transporter Permit to a collection center or an aggregation point if:

  • The used oil is transported in a vehicle owned by the generator or an employee of the generator
  • The generator transports no more than 55gallons of used oil at any one time
  • The generator transports the used oil to a used oil collection center that is authorized by the state to manage used oil, or to an aggregation point that is owned and/or operated by the same generator
  • The generator maintains on-site a written record of all shipments of used oil for a minimum of three years

Otherwise, transporters of used oil are required to obtain a Delaware Hazardous Waste Transporter Permit.