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Hazardous Waste Management

The success of the hazardous waste management program depends not only on EH&S but also on the conscientious efforts of you, the individual. Unless you understand that chemical wastes you generate are your responsibility, the teaching and research goals of the University may be compromised. The key to managing this problem lies in recognizing your responsibility, understanding our management system, and reducing the volume of surplus and waste chemicals.

The Four Ls of Hazardous Waste Generation Management

Lid - make sure you have a proper and tight lid
Label - label must include chemical name, appropriate hazard warning, and name of responsible persons
Location - fill and store wastes in the proper location you have designated in your lab or shop
Leaks - check containers daily for leaks. Containers should not leak if tipped.

(I) Collecting Your Chemicals for Disposal

Only properly labeled materials in securely sealed containers will be accepted for disposal. Any material not meeting these guidelines will be refused by EH&S until properly prepared.

  • Incorporate neutralization, precipitation and drying, or chemical destruction whenever possible into your procedural protocol. 
  • Separate your chemicals into “Waste” chemicals which need to be disposed of properly and “Surplus” chemicals which another researcher might be able to use.
  • Only containers which are free of incompatible materials and themselves are compatible with the collected material may be used for accumulating hazardous waste.
  • Containers used to collect hazardous wastes must have a tight fitting cap or lid, and be free from leaks, damage, or outside contaminants.
  • Every container of hazardous waste must be kept securely closed at all times except when material is being added or removed. Materials should be added/removed within a chemical fume hood.
  • Each container holding a waste must be labeled with the EH&S "Hazardous Waste" tag.
  • Do not overfill the containers!!! Keep at least 1 to 1 1/2 inches of air space in any container. Overfilled containers will not be accepted until excess material has been removed.
  • Keep the number of chemicals collected in any one container to a minimum. This will make the completion of the disposal tag easier for you or your staff and minimize disposal costs.
  • Keep wastes separated into compatible groups to prevent inadvertent hazardous reactions.
  • Contact EH&S before your waste container is full. Do not hold on to full containers.

(II) Special Wastes

These wastes cannot be collected during the normal weekly pick-up. Please contact EH&S for disposal information on these wastes.

  • Unknowns - These wastes must be characterized before shipment (EH&S will coordinate this service).  The cost of analysis to determine the identity of unknowns for disposal purposes is the responsibility of the laboratory supervisor. Identification may require a wide spectrum of costly analytical methods. It is always better to properly label and track your own wastes to insure proper identification. Unknowns will be dealt with on a case by case basis.
  • Dangerously Reactive Wastes - Wastes which require refrigeration to maintain stability cannot be accepted during normal pickups. Other highly reactive wastes like those that form peroxides with age, shock sensitive chemicals like dry picric acid and materials that can rapidly and dangerously decompose when in contact with air or moisture must be addressed on a case-by-case basis. Please contact the Environmental Specialist to discuss the arrangements for the removal of these materials from your lab.

(III) Radioactive and Biological wastes

Contact Radiation and Biological Safety voice mail at 816-3666 for pickup of these wastes. If you have any questions, contact 816-2236 to speak with a technical staff person.

(IV) Labeling Containers of Waste

Federal and State Hazardous Waste laws require that a container used to collect or store wastes must be properly labeled at all times. To comply with this requirement, EH&S will distribute "Hazardous Waste" tags upon request.

If the waste stream is consistent, the tag may be filled out and attached to the container when it is first used to collect the wastes.

If the waste stream varies, a tag should be filled out (except for the Chemical list and %) with a separate sheet attached to list the chemicals and volumes as they are added to the container. The chemical list can then be totaled and transferred to the "hazardous Waste" tag, by the generator, before it is picked up for disposal. The following procedures must be used to ensure proper completion of the waste tag:

  • All information (except the “EH&S USE ONLY” blocks) must be filled out by the generator.
  • In the area marked “Accumulation Date” write the date that you first started filling the container.
  • In the column marked “Contents” list by name all chemicals in the container including non - hazardous chemicals (i.e. water). Do not use chemical formulas or abbreviations.
  • In the column marked “%” enter the closest approximation of the percentage associated with each chemical in that container. The sum of the chemical contents must equal 100%.
  • In the column marked “Amount” enter the amount of waste in (gal. ,lb., L, kg.) that is present in the container.
  • Attach the tag to the container using wire, string or rubber bands. When the container is full. Contact EH&S for pick-up. You may use the Pickup Request Form to schedule pickups.
  • The tags must be filled out and signed by the generator.

Old chemicals and surplus chemicals that are in their original containers, do not leak and have legible labels, do not need to be tagged. Before you call to have your wastes picked up, check to make sure the materials are properly packaged and identified. Be sure all containers are tightly sealed. There should be no reasonable chance of leakage from the container. Also, the outside of the container should be free from contaminants. Containers with chemical spillage or stains will not be accepted. Please replace them.

V) Pick-up Procedures and Scheduling

  • Make sure you have properly labeled and packaged your container(s) of waste.
  • Contact the EH&S office at 328-6166 to schedule your pick-up.
  • Provide the EH&S office with the location (building and room#) of wastes, your name, phone number and the amount and description of waste you need to have picked up. The Pickup Request Form may be utilized for this purpose.
  • Pick-ups will take place every Thursday, unless other arrangements are made.
  • Should we be unable to make our pickups, we will contact you.
  • If you have questions concerning your pickup, please contact the Environmental Specialist at 328-6166.

NOTE: Improperly packaged, improperly labeled or overfilled containers will not be picked up.