Used Oil - 2010 Summary of Changes

Senate Bill (SB) 546 (Lowenthal), Chapter 353 (Statutes of 2009) made a number of changes to the used oil management programs in California when it took effect on January 1, 2010.


Used oil is the highest volume of hazardous waste generated in California with approximately 100 million gallons being recycled in-state each year. An estimated 14 million gallons of California used oil gets recycled out-of-state each year. DTSC's used oil program oversees the proper management of used oil through inspections and enforcement of used oil recyclers, transfer facilities and transporters within California.


SB 546 enhanced used oil recycling by:

  • Requiring mandatory used oil testing

  • Revamping the Used Oil Fee structure

  • Encouraging used oil recycling into re-refined oil through an additional incentive payment beside the payment for recycled oil


New Used Oil Provisions

SB 546 specifically requires DTSC to implement and enforce new used oil provisions that require used oil transporters to take measures to ensure used oil testing occurs before it is recycled by:

  • obtaining information from the used oil generator

  • having the used oil tested at a certified laboratory

  • obtaining documentation from the in-state transfer, storage or recycling facility that testing will occur before the used oil is further transported or recycled

  • obtaining documentation (e.g., a certification) from an out-of-state used oil recycling facility that it has an agreement with DTSC for used oil testing and reporting (which may include an out-of-state inspection)

  • annually report the out-of-state facilities and volumes of used oil that are shipped to them

Because it is important that used oil is not contaminated, testing each load of used oil is mandatory. This change in the law is intended to ensure that used oil from California generators, whether recycled in California or out-of state, is managed in ways that are equivalent to California's environmental standards. The definition of used oil, however, specifically excludes, among other things, oil that contains PCBs at a concentration of five ppm or more. Oil that is excluded from the definition of used oil, such as PCB-containing oil, cannot be managed as used oil, but rather must be managed as hazardous waste.




California Oil Recycling

View the SB 546 Senate Bill for more information on DTSC and the new changes in law.

Useful Links


For more information, contact your DTSC regional assistance officer at: (800) 728-6942.