Transporting Hazardous Waste

There are strict regulations and standards that outline how hazardous wastes are to be transported in B.C. In fact, it’s required by law – federally and provincially – to document the transportation of hazardous waste.

Hazardous wastes are waste materials, which, because of their toxic or reactive nature must be handled or disposed of properly to prevent harming people or the environment. Hazardous wastes are defined in Section 1 of the Hazardous Waste Regulation and include ‘dangerous goods’ that are no longer used for their original purpose. Some hazardous wastes are not dangerous goods. Examples of hazardous waste include:

  • Waste batteries
  • Waste oil
  • Leachable toxic waste
  • Waste asbestos from buildings
  • Waste solvents

Each province ensures that proper transportation of dangerous goods and hazardous waste happens by requiring documentation to be completed and carried with the shipment at all times and copies then returned to the applicable provincial governments.

The transportation of hazardous wastes is governed by other laws as well, including:


Transport License

Except where there is an exemption, anyone transporting hazardous waste in excess of a certain amount of hazardous waste in BC requires a valid licence to transport issued by the BC Ministry of Environment.

The prescribed amount is given in the table below:

Hazardous Waste Amount
Solids 5 kg
Liquids 5 litres
Compressed Gases (container capacity) 5 litres
Waste Oil 210 litres
Waste Paint 210 litres
Waste Batteries 1,000 kg
PCB (liquid or solid) Any quantity that contains greater than 500 g of PCB


Licences to transport are usually valid for 1 year from the date of issuance.

Interprovincial carriers and international carriers are also required to hold a valid licence to transport hazardous waste even if they are only crossing British Columbia to another province or the United States or to other countries. These carriers must meet all the applicable requirements under the Hazardous Waste Regulation, including the use of manifest shipping document.  Exemptions given by federal agencies such as Environment Canada or Transport Canada do not apply unless a written exemption given by the province of BC is issued to a carrier or the regulated party.

Shipping Documents

There are different forms to be completed, depending on the kind of waste being transported and the weight or volume. For the transportation of hazardous wastes, it’s mandatory that consignors of the waste complete a manifest - for hazardous wastes generated in BC, the manifest form must be the one issued by the province of BC with BC’s unique manifest identifier number.

The manifest form tracks the movement of Hazardous waste within, into or out of British Columbia. It documents the type and amounts of waste, who shipped it (the consignor), who transported it (the carrier), who received it (the consignee) and how it was handled.

A manifest is not to be used as a continuous shipping document for more than one trip between consignors and consignees. Also, the quantity and description of waste recorded on the manifest must match the waste on the shipment vehicle to be in compliance with the law.

A manifest is required when transporting hazardous waste greater than the following amounts.

 
Hazardous Waste Amount
Solids 5 kg
Liquids 5 litres
Compressed Gases (container capacity) 5 litres
Waste Oil 210 litres
Waste Paint 210 litres
Waste Batteries 1,000 kg
PCB (liquid or solid) Any quantity that contains greater than 500 g of PCB

Carriers wishing to transport hazardous wastes in the amounts greater than the quantities in the above chart must also obtain a Hazardous Waste Transport Licence.