In the interest of human health and safety and the environment, all chemical wastes, including lab chemicals, paints, automobile fluids, pesticides, and maintenance wastes, must be managed appropriately. Washington has more stringent chemical waste regulations than the federal government and most states. Therefore, chemical wastes should not be evaporated, poured down the drain, or disposed of in the garbage unless approved by Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S).
Identifying Chemical Waste
Most commercial products and lab chemicals must be managed as chemical waste. If you are unsure, hazardous waste identification assistance can be found here or by calling EH&S.
Prior to the start an experiment or project EH&S will, upon request, review your procedures or lab recipes and provide documentation as to which materials will need to be collected and disposed of by EH&S.
Accumulate wastes in chemically compatible containers with tight fitting caps, usually the containers in which materials were originally received. Keep the exterior clean and protected from contamination or deterioration. The container must remain closed to prevent evaporation, except when adding waste to the container. When filling a container, leave sufficient head space for expansion. Empty containers may be disposed of in the trash. Containers of any single pure chemical on the Acutely Hazardous chemical list (SPPM S70.42) must be triple rinsed before discarding the container. The rinsate must be collected and managed as waste.
The label must be put on the container at the first addition of waste to the container. This is required by state regulations and makes the contents and associated hazards clear to individuals who may have to handle the container.
Remove or thoroughly obscure old labels. Labels can be downloaded or ordered free of charge from Central Stores. If you make your own label, it must include all information on the EH&S label:
- the words “Dangerous Waste”
- a list of the major hazards
- the proper chemical names
- percentages for each constituent in the container. If the constituents are unknown, use all means possible to identify the material, including contacting personnel who have left the university.
- Provide secondary containment, such as a plastic tub
- Store waste chemicals in locked or attended areas
- Flammable liquids exceeding 10 gallons (waste and unused products combined) must be kept in a flammable storage cabinet
- Do not combine mercury with other wastes
Properly managing chemical waste is simple and easy. EH&S will collect chemical waste from on-campus generators free of charge in most cases. However, special projects may be charged. Contact EH&S for additional information.
To have waste removed, complete and submit a Chemical Collection Request Form (CCR), available online. Paper copies that can be mailed to EH&S are available free of charge from EH&S by calling 509-335-3041.
Printed in red on the top right hand side of the CCR is a unique number that should be written on the corresponding dangerous waste label. When submitting a request online, the CCR number will be on the label returned by the system.
Departments are encouraged to use the online system, as it speeds up removal of waste from the work area by eliminating time lost through campus mail.
Completing the CCR and Label
Regulations require that the contents of waste be clearly communicated. Therefore:
- Do not use abbreviations or formulae that may not be clear to lab personnel or contractors who remove wastes from campus. For example, PCP can be piperidine phencyclidine or pentachlorophenol. The chemical properties and handling procedures are different for each chemical.
- Include all the constituents added to the mixture when completing the CCR.
- List any water in the waste mixture. The constituents on the label must add up to 100%.
If your building is served by a centralized waste accumulation area, transfer the container and the completed CCR to the accumulation area operator. Contact EH&S to determine if a centralized area is available for your building.
If you have any questions about the Chemical Waste Management procedure, would like training for individuals who will manage waste for your work area, or would like assistance identifying wastes in your area, please contact EH&S or select “Environmental Services” on our website.