The North. Cetransa is a company that manages hazardous waste coming from industrial activity that lacks economic value for the industry that produces them. “Like any industrial process, we also produce a type of non-hazardous waste that is sent to an external agent. At Sertego, group to which Cetransa belongs, more than 70% of the waste managed is recovered,” explains Marta Medina Losada, Head of Cetransa Laboratory.

Marta Medina, Head of Cetransa Laboratory

What is hazardous waste?

Hazardous waste is all waste that is followed by an asterisk (*) on the European Waste List (EWL codes) as defined by Decision 2000/532/EC, as well as containers and packaging previously containing them, which may cause harm to individuals or the environment, classified according to its origin. Its flammability, toxicity, reactivity, and corrosively characteristics are taken into account. The waste we receive is industrial  from different production sources, including contaminated soil from different sources, sewage sludge and and filter press cakes, hydrocarbon wastes, paint sludge, oil residue, paint sludge, waste from surface treatments – depleted, corrected, and granulated acids…-. Large quantities of asbestos material also comes in, which was used years ago in construction and now must be removed and placed in a safe location due to its carcinogenic nature.

What facilities do you have there?

There are three: the physical and chemical treatment plant where liquid and solid industrial waste, as well as oils, are reduced in volume and level of danger through various treatments depending on the type of waste; the dump site, which is used for final disposal of solid waste; and the transfer plant, where waste that can’t be treated or eliminated at Cetransa is handled and sent to other authorised agents.

What work is carried out in the laboratory?

Its the control point for all waste that comes in to Cetransa. Samples arrive there, and we do everything, from a first visual study to pilot tests which are carried out later in the plant, analysing the various parameters, as well as the characteristics of the waste we receive, its composition, its chemical characteristics, its leaching behaviour… With the results we issue, the production department decides how to proceed with the waste. Likewise, samples of waste that is sent to other agents are analysed before leaving our facilities.

What double function does the laboratory serve?

On one hand, it characterises the waste received, meaning the composition of certain elements that must be controlled in order to be admitted to the dump site, treated in the plant, or sent elsewhere due to current regulations. On the other hand, it controls the facilities in terms of the processes carried out in the plant and at the dump site that require constant analysis in order to continue operating properly. All waste produced in our laboratory, resulting from our analyses and samples received, are treated at our facilities in function of their nature. It is important to point out that we are a test laboratory that has been accredited by the National Accreditation Entity (ENAC) since 2005. That requires us to work under strict testing procedures and quality controls that ensure a high level of confidence in the results issued.

Hazardous waste management and handling standards are strict…

Yes, but they are the same as those given for any case where chemical products are handled, paying special attention so that reactions are not caused by incompatible waste. Logically, the use of EPTs is required, and we place a great deal of importance on protection. Drills for different types of accidents are periodically carried out in each of the areas to help us react quickly. Also, training is continuous. In any case, we receive depleted waste substances that have already been through a production process, and therefore do not present the same hazardous characteristics as pure raw materials. Even so, our facilities are equipped with means to ensure that waste treated here is of as little consequence to the environment and individuals as possible. In addition, we are subject to strict controls by the Administration.