An official website of the United States government.

This is not the current EPA website. To navigate to the current EPA website, please go to This website is historical material reflecting the EPA website as it existed on January 19, 2021. This website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work. More information »

Hazardous Waste

Study of Selected Petroleum Refining Residuals

The EPA is directed in section 3001(e)(2) of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) (42 U.S.C. §6921 (e)(2)) to determine whether to list, as hazardous, a number of different waste residuals including those generated by the petroleum refining industry. A lawsuit by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) in 1989 resulted in a consent decree approved by the court, that sets out an extensive series of deadlines for making the listing determinations required by Section 3001 (e)(2). With respect to the petroleum refining industry, the consent decree identifies 14 specific waste residuals for which the Agency must make listing determinations and an additional 15 waste residuals for which the Agency must conduct a study. This report is the result of the Agency's study of the 15 study residuals.

The document describes EPA's approach to conducting the industry study required by the EDF/EPA consent decree and characterizes the study residuals and how they are managed. The report includes a discussion of the concentration of toxic constituents in each waste, the volume of each waste generated, and the management practices for each waste (including plausible mismanagement practices).

This is a technical study of certain residuals generated during petroleum operations. It represents only a first step in an assessment of whether or not these materials should be considered hazardous waste. The Agency would need to conduct a much more detailed risk assessment before any further action would be undertaken.

You may need a PDF reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA’s About PDF page to learn more.