"Almost all the recovered oil is recycled one way or another, with the exception if it's contaminated (with) sand or debris," Allen, the national incident commander, said during a news briefing in Washington. "That actually in some cases can become oily waste or hazardous waste (and) has to be treated in accordance with (Environmental Protection Agency) guidelines. "
Since April 20, oil has been spilling from a Transocean Deepwater Horizon oil rig that exploded and sank two days later. Eleven workers died in the explosion.
Federal officials have visited several facilities "to make sure we know how they're handling the oily waste," Allen said. "And there are certain ways that (some material have) to be disposed of properly, in landfills or other places. And those are following EPA guidelines."
If something, such as marsh reeds or plastic bottles, becomes coated in oil, "it has to be disposed of in accordance with federal law just like waste oil or hazmat would be," Allen said.
Some disposal is done through incineration, he said, "but in general ... if the oil can be recycled or reused or reclaimed, that happens."