Representative samples should be obtained to determine the nature of wastes.

If the waste is in liquid form in drums, it should be completely mixed (if this is safe) before sampling, and an aliquot should be taken from each container. Within a group of drums containing similar waste, random sampling of 20% of the drums is sufficient to characterize the wastes. If the sampler is unsure of the drum contents, each must be sampled and analyzed. If the waste source is a manufacturing or waste treatment process solid, composite sampling and analysis are recommended. In such cases, an aliquot is periodically collected, composited, and analyzed. If the solid waste is in a lagoon, abandoned disposal facility, tank, or similar facility, three-dimensional sampling is recommended. Although samples collected three-dimensionally are sometimes composited, they are usually analyzed individually. This process characterizes the solid waste and aids in determining whether the entire quantity of material is hazardous.

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