Chemical Waste Management
The Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) Office is responsible for properly disposing of chemical waste generated by laboratories and other campus operations. The following information should assist College personnel in accumulating and storing chemical waste in such a manner as to ensure safety and regulatory compliance.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the federal and state Departments of Transportation (DOT), and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) regulate hazardous waste handling and disposal. Noncompliance with regulatory requirements can result in significant fines and negative publicity. The cooperation of all chemical waste generators is necessary to make ESF a safe place to learn and work. Any questions that are not covered in this document should be directed to the EH&S Office, 5 Bray Hall, x6964.
What Is a Hazardous Waste?
According to the EPA, hazardous waste is any waste that is ignitable (flash point of < 140°F), corrosive (pH of < 2 or > 12.5), reactive, or specifically listed by the EPA as a toxic waste. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS’s) are a good source of information for determining whether a particular material meets any of these criteria. Hazardous wastes may include byproducts and wastes from chemical reactions or unwanted commercial products and chemicals.
Hazardous waste determinations are not always straightforward, so if you are unsure whether a particular waste is hazardous or not, contact the EH&S Office for guidance. If you are in doubt, collect the waste and submit it for proper disposal.
Hazardous waste may not be disposed of in the trash or down the drain. It must be collected, submitted to the EH&S Office, and shipped to a permitted treatment, storage, or disposal facility. Improperly managed hazardous waste can present a safety hazard to laboratory and custodial workers, a physical hazard to plumbing and buildings, and an environmental hazard should releases occur to the air, ground, or water.
Hazardous Waste Accumulation and Storage
The following guidelines for accumulating and storing hazardous waste should always be followed:
Removal of Chemical Waste
When you have waste containers that are full or that you are finished working with, contact the EH&S Office to arrange for the material to be picked up. Complete a Surplus Chemical/Waste Disposal Form, being sure to indicate the composition of the waste and quantity and size of containers. The forms are available at the A&TS Stockroom and the EH&S Office. When listing waste components, also include approximate percentages; for example, methylene chloride 50%, water 50%. Send the top white copy of the form to the EH&S Office, 5 Bray Hall, and attach the bottom copy to the waste container. Alternately, if you have a large number of different wastes, you may submit a list that includes all the pertinent information from the Surplus Chemical/Waste Disposal Form.
Make sure all containers are in good condition for transport and clearly labeled. Wipe off any spilled material and close the top tightly. Assuming there are no questions regarding the waste, someone from the EH&S Office will then remove the waste from your lab.
If you have unused chemicals that you wish to dispose, make an effort to find someone who may be able to use them, prior to submitting them for disposal. This can save another lab the cost of purchasing the chemical, as well as saving the college the cost of its disposal. However, if the chemical is no longer usable, or you are unable to find a new user, submit it to the EH&S Office for proper disposal.
This label is available from the Environmental Health & Safety Office or the Chemical Supply Stockroom.
Other Types of Waste
Laboratories are generally responsible for disposal of their own non-hazardous wastes, but the EH&S Office is available to assist with determination of a proper disposal method. Additionally, the EH&S Office will remove the following non-hazardous wastes from laboratories. These materials should not be labeled “Hazardous Waste”.
The Federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the New York State Department of Health strictly regulate radioactive waste handling. Contact the Radiation Safety Officer (x6848) for proper collection and disposal procedures.
Laboratory Chemical Inventories and Housekeeping
For safety reasons, it is best to keep the number of chemicals on-hand in the laboratory limited to those actually in use or planned for use. Periodic reviews of chemical inventories are encouraged to eliminate unwanted chemicals. This is also a good opportunity to ensure all containers are in good condition and clearly labeled. Over time, labels can fade or fall off, leaving an unidentified chemical.
It is also a good policy to ensure students and researchers properly dispose of any wastes or residuals from their work prior to leaving ESF. Otherwise, unidentified chemical containers can be left for future lab occupants to deal with. If the contents could not be identified, the cost of disposal would greatly increase, and accidents could result from improper handling.
SUNY COLLEGE OF ENVIRONMENTAL
SCIENCE & FORESTRY
SURPLUS CHEMICAL FORM
--->Fill Out Completely
Dept: Bldg: Room::
II. Waste Description [List components and amounts]
---->Give specific chemical names of all materials added to the container (names such as: org material, mixed acids, mixed bases unknown are insufficient).
Name: [Add formula if known] % or PPM
Quantity [include units]:
Container [circle] Bottle Can Other:
Physical State [circle] Solid Liqiuid Sludge Other:
III. Hazardous Properties [check all that apply]
None Carcinogen Water-reactive
Flammable Oxidizer Air-reactive
Toxic Irritant Highly volatile
Explosive Corrosive Other
IV. Is this materiall radioactive?
• Radioactives are disposed of separately by the Radiation Safety Officer.
• Attach Radioactive Identification and notify RSO immediately!
V. Generator Certification: The undersigned hereby certifies that the above named materials are
properly package, labeled, and classified, and are in proper condition for transportation.
Date Picked Up: Disposal Method:
Date Disposed Of: ESF Official:
Once completed, submit white copy to the Environmental Health & Safety Office. The generator can retain the yellow copy, and the card is to be attached to the container. Original forms can be obtained from the Environmental Health & Safety Office X6964.