There are approximately 77,500 farms and ranches in California that range in size from a few to tens of thousands of acres. Most farming equipment, from tractors to pumps, uses lubricating oil and that oil must be managed properly after it is removed.
Many jurisdictions have found that on some farms this is not being done. While incidents of deliberate releases of used oil are few, improper storage and management is a large and widespread problem, especially on smaller farms. The following gives some information on agricultural used oil programs that should help jurisdictions get started on designing programs to fit the needs of their area.
Oil Payment Program (OPP) funds can be used for implementation of agricultural used oil programs, including used oil and filter collection, if the jurisdiction has identified a need and is already implementing a general used oil collection and education program. Jurisdictions must be aware that an agricultural used oil program funded through the OPP must be filling a gap in service for growers in their jurisdictions, not replacing services already being paid for by growers.
Jurisdictions are encouraged to research and assess the need for an agricultural used oil program. An agricultural used oil program can be as simple as an outreach and eduction piece developed, printed, and distributed to farmers and ranchers that reminds them to manage their used motor oil properly. If greater need is apparent, a collection program is worth looking into.
Local agricultural used oil collection programs assist growers in properly managing their used oil and filters at no or low cost and without penalty for violation of Health and Safety Code storage statutes.
One option for collection is self-hauling by growers of up to 55 gallons at a time, in containers no larger than 55 gallons. Changes made to the Health & Safety Code (Section 25250.11) by Assembly Bill 470 (Sher) on January 1, 2002 allow the self-hauling of oil without first becoming a licensed hazardous waste hauler or completing a hazardous waste manifest if all four of the following conditions are met:
- The capacity of any single container does not exceed 55 gallons.
- Each shipment of used oil does not exceed 55 gallons.
- The person transporting the used oil has generated the used oil.
- The person transporting the used oil does not transport greater than 55 gallons of used oil, and does not transport any used oil in any container exceeding 55 gallons in capacity, without first contacting the destination location and verifying that the location will accept the used oil.
One of the reasons it is important to contact the oil collection center before transporting oil is that some collection centers only accept a maximum of 5 gallons of oil at a time.
Another option for collection is on-site pickup of used oil and filters. Jurisdictions hire a licensed used oil hauler to collect oil right on the farm. This could be done on a recurring basis like a curbside service for growers. If ongoing pickup service is not feasible for your area, an alternative is a one-time pickup or “amnesty” type program to clear out large quantities of stored oil and filters. Once this backlog is removed, growers are educated about proper used oil and filter management and given options to properly manage their oil themselves in the future.
These are just a few ideas that might help you begin designing an agricultural used oil program. Your program advisor can also help you determine if this is a priority for your jurisdiction.
For More Information
- Free Drop-Off Locations for California Growers and Ranchers. These locations, funded by grants from CalRecycle, allow growers and ranchers to drop off up to 55 gallons of used oil.
- California Farm Bureau. Every grower in the state has contact with this group in one way or another. The farm bureau is a voluntary, nongovernmental, organization of farm and ranch families seeking solutions to the problems that affect their lives. They provide numerous types of information and assistance to growers and ranchers.