Cochrane & Associates, LLC

Environmental Professionals in Puerto Rico Help to Detect and Prevent PCBs from Contaminating Used Oils

Source: Cochrane & Associates, LLC

Zimmetry Environmental offers testing and consulting services to identify and avert oil contamination issues due to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at municipal and commercial oil collection centers and recycling providers.

Bayamon, Puerto Rico, June 24th, 2019 -- When PCB-contaminated oil is not detected and ends up mixed with other oils at collection and recycling centers it can create not only an environmental hazard, but also an extremely costly situation for the commercial or municipal service provider.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) describes one such case when 600 gallons of contaminated oil was mixed with non-PCB oil resulting in 17,000 gallons of PCB-contaminated oil becoming subject to PCB disposal regulations under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The cost to the city program in this one instance, for cleanup and disposal fees, ended up being over $200,000.


To help prevent this all too common occurrence, the EPA released a fact sheet last year that includes best management practices for commercial and municipal used oil collection centers and recyclers. It provides guidance to assist them in preventing and detecting PCB contamination in used oil. In the document, the agency states that used oil containing PCBs at concentrations of 50 parts per million (ppm) or greater (≥ 50 ppm) is regulated for disposal under TSCA (these requirements may not be avoided through dilution). At lower PCB concentrations (2 ppm to less than 50 ppm), used oil may be burned as a fuel, subject to restrictions listed in title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) section 761.20(e), 40 CFR part 279, and any applicable state and local laws.


“Commercial and municipal used oil collection centers and recyclers that pick up or simply receive used oil, can end up with a large amount of contaminated oil if even a relatively small amount of contaminated oil is mixed in a storage tank with other used oil,” said Harry Pena, President of Zimmetry Environmental. “The EPA recommends that collection centers obtain a sample of used oil from each batch received, known as a retain sample. In the event of detection of PCBs in the collection tank, these samples can be analyzed to determine the source of PCBs. The sample from the collection tank should be tested before shipping the used oil off-site. For used oil recyclers, the agency states that they should take a retain sample from each incoming shipment of used oil. Offload the used oil into a guard tank, which should remain locked while waiting for PCB test results.”


In Puerto Rico, Zimmetry Environmental offers PCB sample collection and testing services for used oil collection centers and recyclers. These services provide municipal and commercial companies with the knowledge that the used oil they have received, or will be processing, will not subject them to costly disposal and cleanup fees.


To learn more about Zimmetry Environmental and their PCB, environmental, and compliance testing and consulting services, please visit, call (787) 995.0005 or email


About Zimmetry Environmental

Since 2002, Zimmetry Environmental has been providing environmental consulting services to building owners and managers, architects, engineers, EHS professionals and Fortune 500 companies. The company is based in Puerto Rico and provides services across the Caribbean and Central America. The professionals at Zimmetry offer environmental compliance, indoor air quality, asbestos, lead-based paint, Phase I ESAs and general environmental consulting services.