Management and Disposal of Lead-Based Paint Debris

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to suspend current requirements for disposal of lead-based paint (LBP) debris and allow disposal of LBP debris in construction and demolition (C&D) landfills. EPA analysis found disposal in C&D landfills to be safe (i.e., protective of human health and the environment) and less costly than disposal in other types of landfills.  To reduce costs and remove obstacles associated with disposal of LBP debris, the EPA is proposing this rule to shift the regulations for management and disposal of LBP debris from the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to a tailored program under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). 

Disposing of LBP debris can be very costly.  The EPA estimates that LBP debris tested and managed as hazardous waste can cost up to $316 per ton.  The EPA believes that the costs of LBP debris disposed as solid waste will be significantly less—approximately one-tenth the cost of disposal as hazardous waste.  By allowing LBP debris to be disposed of in a less-costly manner, the EPA hopes the new TSCA standards will hasten the pace with which LBP and LBP hazards are removed from residences and public and commercial buildings.

Under the proposed TSCA rule, generators would no longer need to test LBP debris for lead. Instead, a generator may dispose of the LBP debris in a C&D landfill or in one of the landfill options listed in this article.

What Is LBP Debris?

LBP debris is any component, fixture, or portion of a residence or other building coated wholly or partly with LBP. LBP debris can also be any solid material coated wholly or partly with LBP resulting from a demolition. Examples include ceilings, crown molding, walls, windows and trim, chair rails, doors, door trim, floors, fireplaces, shelves, cabinets, radiators and other heating units.

Materials that are not considered LBP debris include paint chips and dust, leftover paint or paint thinners, sludge, solvents, vacuum filter materials, wash water, sandblasting material, and lead-contaminated soil.  They remain subject to RCRA requirements.  However, you may be able to manage these materials as a solid waste, if:

Who Is Affected By This Rule?

This rule covers persons and firms that renovate, remodel, demolish, abate, or delead residences or public and commercial buildings or transport LBP debris. Examples include renovation or abatement contractors and construction and demolition professionals.

What Are Your Options For Disposal Of LBP Debris?

Under the proposed TSCA standards, LBP debris may be disposed of in:

The proposal will not allow LBP debris to be disposed of in a municipal solid waste landfill facility (MSWLF) although the proposal asks for comment on this. The EPA believes that organic materials found in MSWLF’s—such as common garbage—facilitate leaching of lead. On the other hand, EPA has found that lead does not leach as much when exposed to materials such as those found in a C&D landfill.

What Management Requirements Do You Have To Follow?

The following describes the proposed management requirements to reduce LBP exposures when disposing of LBP debris:

Concentrated Wastes

Generators disposing of concentrated LBP wastes—such as sludge and paint chips—must comply with existing Federal RCRA hazardous waste regulations as they are not eligible for disposal under the proposed TSCA standards.


LBP debris may not be used as mulch, roadbed, or fill material.  LBP debris may not be reused if it contains deteriorated LBP. Once the LBP is removed from the component, the component is no longer considered LBP debris and may be reused.

Access Limitations And Storage Requirements

LBP debris may not be stored for more than 180 days after generation. Once you have generated LBP debris, you have 180 days to dispose of it in a C&D landfill.  After 3 days, LBP debris must be stored in a place with restricted access such as 6-foot dumpsters; covered drums or dumpsters; fenced areas that are locked; or locked, unoccupied structures.


When LBP debris is transferred from one person to another, the person transferring the LBP debris must notify the recipient of the presence of LBP debris, the date it was generated, and the address of the generator and refer the recipient to the manage-ment and disposal standards for LBP debris. Both the recipient and the transferor must sign and date this notification and keep a copy for 3 years.


Vehicles transporting LBP debris off-site must be contained in a covered receptacle or a covered vehicle.