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Hazardous Waste Technician
Hazardous waste technicians are responsible for handling, processing, packaging, and tracking hazardous waste for shipment, treatment, and disposal. They can also be involved in coordinating hazardous waste programs for both private industry and the public sector. They can be employed by waste recycling and treatment facilities or with large companies, packaging and shipping their hazardous waste. Hazardous waste technicians have specialized training on how to safely handle and dispose of chemical, biohazard, and radioactive wastes.
At a glanceImagine you are dressed in a white protective suit complete with gloves and slippers for your shoes. You are a hazardous waste technician and you are unloading a minivan full of household hazardous waste containers. This is the City's annual household hazardous waste roundup, where for 10 days the City campaigns to have residents bring their old paint cans, solvents, motor oil, and batteries to your waste handling facility for proper disposal. The roundup is part of a public campaign to educate residents on the proper disposal of household hazardous wastes so they don't end up in landfills or down the drain. Instead, they are brought to you and you ensure that these common household chemicals are properly collected and disposed of without harm to the environment. As a hazardous waste technician, you have years of experience handling and disposing of hazardous substances and you know how important it is to follow proper procedures. When residents or industrial traffic arrives at your facility, you carefully remove the hazardous waste containers from the vehicle and check the inventory list that should accompany the containers. When receiving hazardous waste, it is important that you can accurately identify what kind of waste has come in, where it has come from, and in what quantity. Once you have confirmed everything is clearly marked and the necessary paperwork has been filled out, you sort the containers. First you identify which wastes can be recycled, for example used motor oil or antifreeze. Those that cannot be recycled are inventoried according to their active ingredient and packed in plastic-lined drums to be shipped to specialized treatment and disposal facilities. When the drums are ready for shipping, you must complete a shipping manifest indicating the volume of waste being transported and the name of the company hauling it. Copies of the shipping manifest are sent with the transport company with the drums. When the drums reach their destination, a delivery confirmation notice will be sent to you. Once you have the delivery confirmation, you can be confident the hazardous waste is being treated and disposed of properly and not ending up in landfills or draining into watersheds.
Job dutiesDuties vary significantly from job to job, but the following list includes typical job duties one might encounter as a hazardous waste technician:
- Receive, identify, sort, and prepare for disposal incoming household and business hazardous waste.
- Verify hazardous wastes and classify them for disposal.
- Maintain inventories of hazardous materials on-site.
- Maintain equipment inspection logs and facility records.
- Follow procedures for waste management and chemical handling, including sampling, weighing, and storing chemical containers.
- Add reagents and mix or process waste.
- Participate in occupational hygiene monitoring.
- Collect environmental monitoring samples and submit for analysis.
- Research and stay current with provincial and federal regulations, laws, and amendments governing hazardous wastes and materials.
- Participate in training and professional development activities, including necessary certification.
Work environmentHazardous waste technicians work in a variety of locations, including: In the field:
- Receiving and inspecting hazardous waste
- Operating process equipment
- Operating vehicles and transporting hazardous waste
- Performing maintenance and repairing equipment
- Monitoring facility operation
- Doing paperwork and analyzing data for reporting
- Communicating on the phone and in meetings with clients, government departments, contractors, and the public
- Researching applicable regulations and compliance requirements
Where to work
- Waste recycling and disposal facilities
- Environmental and engineering consulting firms
- Federal, provincial/territorial, and municipal government departments
- Colleges, universities, and research institutes
- Waste management firms
- Health care facilities
- Firms in other industries, for example manufacturing, mining, forestry, and transportation
Education & requirementsIf you are a high school student considering a career as a hazardous waste technician, you should have strong marks or an interest in:
- Computer Science
- Environmental Science
- Environmental Engineering
- Waste Management