Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are man-made chemicals. They are dangerous to human health and the environment and you must dispose of them correctly.
Equipment that often contains PCBs includes:
You must arrange for the safe disposal or decontamination of all equipment that contains PCBs as soon as possible. When the equipment is ready to be disposed of, it will be regarded as hazardous/special waste.
If you possess any components that contain PCBs that are part of a larger piece of equipment, and neither the component nor the larger equipment is classed as Contaminated Equipment you may continue to possess them until the larger piece of equipment is taken out of use for example, capacitors within fluorescent lighting strips. You must dispose of the equipment correctly at the end of its useful life.
Contaminated Equipment is any equipment that contains five litres or more of any substance with a PCB concentration greater than 50 parts per million (ppm).
You must not possess Contaminated Equipment unless your business:
If you possess Contaminated Equipment you must register it with your environmental regulator, even if you are about to dispose of it.
You must also register any equipment that could potentially be Contaminated Equipment unless it is reasonable to assume that it is not contaminated.
You must renew your registrations annually for as long as you have the equipment.
You should arrange for the safe decontamination or disposal of all Contaminated Equipment you possess as soon as possible, unless you are permitted to continue possessing the equipment for the reasons outlined above.
Decontamination reduces the PCB concentration of Contaminated Equipment to less than 50ppm. When you submit your registration or renewal paperwork you should tell your environmental regulator how and when you plan to have the decontamination work done.
You should de-register your Contaminated Equipment after its disposal, decontamination or sale.
You will need to provide evidence such as:
Any new owner of Contaminated Equipment must register it with their environmental regulator.
You must clearly label all Contaminated Equipment as containing PCBs and place warning notices on the doors of any premises where the equipment is held. Transformers that are held until the end of their useful life should also have an additional label showing they have been decontaminated to below 500ppm.
For more information, contact your environmental regulator.
Scotland: SEPA PCBs regulations guidance (Adobe PDF - 33KB)
PCBs Charging Scheme (Adobe PDF - 105KB)
The Northern Ireland Environment Agency has published a short guide to the duty of care responsibilities including advice and information for waste producers, carriers and those accepting, storing and treating waste.
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