PCB Contaminated Equipment is covered by The Environmental Protection (Disposal of Polychlorinated Biphenyls and Other Dangerous Substances) (England and Wales) Regulations 2000.
What is covered by the Regulations?
The Regulations define PCBs as a substance that contains more than 50 parts per million (ppm) of a PCB substance.
Contaminated Equipment is covered by these Regulations if it contains 5 litres or more of PCB substance or mixture.
The law requires that any equipment that fits the definitions of Contaminated Equipment must be registered with the Environment Agency. Your registration must be renewed every year until the holding has been disposed of entirely or decontaminated to 50 parts per million (ppm) or less – it should then be de-registered.
Disposing or decontaminating
When you register Contaminated Equipment, you should tell us how and when you plan to dispose or decontaminate your holdings (so that they contain no PCBs). You should plan to do this as soon as possible unless the equipment you are registering is a transformer which is still in use and contains 500ppm or less PCBs. Such a transformer may be held until the end of its useful life and its registration must be renewed every year.
When you dispose of registered holdings, or have them decontaminated, you should de-register them and supply us with evidence. You will also need to de-register if you sell a piece of Contaminated Equipment, or a piece of land where such equipment is located but the new owner would also have to register its holding. Find out more in the guidance notes for registration.
There are other legal requirements, such as proper labelling, that apply to registered holdings - including any that have been decontaminated. If you register Contaminated Equipment you should read the Regulations and make sure you comply.
What about PCBs or equipment that is not Contaminated Equipment?
If you have PCBs or equipment which contains PCBs that does not fit the definition of Contaminated Equipment then there is no requirement to register them. However, they must be disposed of as soon as possible (see below for exemptions), and in one of the ways prescribed by the Regulations.
There are exemptions when equipment containing PCBs, but which does not fit the definition of Contaminated Equipment, may be held until the end of its useful life. They are:
- transformers that have been decontaminated to 50ppm or less; or
- a component that is part of a larger piece of equipment; where neither the component nor the larger equipment containing it is Contaminated Equipment. An example of this type of component is capacitors within fluorescent lighting strips
For advice about disposal of PCBs or other hazardous waste see our hazardous waste pages or contact us.