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Proper Management of Used Oil

Many businesses and individuals generate used oil of one kind or another. Used oil may be generated from the servicing of motor vehicles, power equipment, recreational vehicles or watercraft. Used oil is also commonly generated from a wide variety of industrial equipment and processes.

Used oil can come in many forms, including:

  • Used crankcase (engine) oil;
  • Brake fluid, transmission fluid, and power steering fluid;
  • Used gear, chain, and ball bearing lubricants;
  • Hydraulic and compressor oils;
  • Metalworking fluids (including water-soluble coolants);
  • Drawing and stamping oils;
  • Heat transfer oils (including quenching oils); and,
  • Dielectric fluid (e.g., transformer oil).

If used oil is not managed properly, it can result in the pollution of soil, groundwater, and surface water. Just a quart of oil can make over a million gallons of drinking water unfit to drink. Half that amount can create an oil sheen more than an acre in size. An oil sheen can block necessary oxygen and sunlight from moving through the surface of the water. Hydrocarbons in oil can harm young fish, upset fish reproduction, and interfere with the growth and reproduction of bottom-dwelling aquatic organisms. Used oil spilled on the ground can also kill plants and be toxic to pets and wildlife.

Used oil that is generated by commercial or industrial businesses must be managed in compliance with DEEP’s used oil regulations, which are found in Section 22a-449(c)-119 of DEEP’s Hazardous Waste Management Regulations. These regulations include requirements for the testing, storage, transportation, and recycling of used oil.

Used oil that is generated by homeowners (such as individuals performing repair work on their own vehicles) is not regulated under DEEP’s used oil regulations. However, homeowner Do-It-Yourselfers may not dispose of their used oil in the trash, on the ground, or to sewers or waterways. Instead, household Do-It-Yourselfers should contact their local transfer station or recycling facility to find out if they have a used oil collection tank. In addition, some service stations/quick-change lube centers and Auto Parts Stores may accept used oil from household Do-It-Yourselfers.

NEW! Several CT Municipalities have recently experienced PCB contamination in the collection of used motor oil at the transfer station/recycling facility.  See the following documents for information about how to prevent these contamination incidents:

For more information on the proper management of used oil, check out the following DEEP guidance documents and fact sheets:

Management of Used Oils in Connecticut
This draft, 1999 document is a comprehensive guidance document that addresses virtually all aspects of Connecticut’s used oil requirements.  Also included in the document are DEEP's Used Oil Fact Sheets #s 1 through 12.

Summary of Changes to DEEP’s Used Oil Regulations Made in 2001 and 2002
An overview of DEEP’s adoption of the federal used oil regulations in 40 CFR 279, and Connecticut’s provisions that differ from the federal rules.

Management of Do-It-Yourselfer Used Oil (PDF - Used Oil Fact Sheet # 9)
Information for Do-It-Yourselfers, as well as the facilities that accept their used oil (i.e., transfer stations, etc.).

Used Oil Generated from Motor Vehicle Servicing Operations (PDF - Used Oil Fact Sheet #7)
An overview of DEEP’s used oil regulations for service stations, auto dealerships, quick-change lube centers, vehicle fleet operations, auto recyclers, and other businesses involved in vehicle maintenance.

Used Oil Generated in Industry and Commerce (PDF - Used Oil Fact Sheet #8)
An overview of DEEP’s used oil regulations for manufacturers, machine shops, and non-industrial operations such as warehouses and utility facilities that may generate used oil.

Materials Containing or Otherwise Contaminated with Used Oil (PDF - Used Oil Fact Sheet #4)
Information on the proper management of wastes such as spent rags and wipers, spent absorbents, filters, discarded equipment and machinery containing used oil, metal turnings, chips, or scrap metals that contain used oil, and soils and wastewaters that are contaminated with used oil.

Mixtures of Used Oil and Other Materials (PDF - Used Oil Fact Sheet #5)
Description of how various mixtures of used oil and other wastes or fuels are regulated. This includes mixtures of used oil and hazardous waste, mixtures of used oil and non-hazardous waste, mixtures of used oil and antifreeze, mixtures of used oil and wastewaters, and mixtures of used oil and virgin fuels.

Management of Tank Bottoms (PDF - Used Oil Fact Sheet #6)
Information on the proper management of used oil tank bottoms, as well as petroleum tank bottoms and manufacturing process tank bottoms. 

Used Oil from Boats, Ships, and Other Watercraft (PDF - Used Oil Fact Sheet #10)
Information on the proper management of used oil specifically aimed at private boat owners, marinas and commercial marine facilities.

Used Oil Generated on Farms (PDF - Used Oil Fact Sheet #11)
Describes the proper management of used oil generated from agricultural operations of all kinds, including dairy, beef, and poultry farms, fruit and vegetable growers, nursery operations, etc.

Where can I obtain additional information?

If you have a question about used oil and cannot find the answer in any of the above documents, please call DEEP’s Waste Engineering and Enforcement Division through our toll free compliance assistance line at 1-888-424-4193, send us an email, or contact us by regular mail at:

Department of Energy & Environmental Protection
Bureau of Materials Management and Compliance Assurance
Waste Engineering and Enforcement Division
79 Elm Street
Hartford, CT 06106-5127

Last Revised March 4, 2019