Washington State University
Environmental Health & Safety Disposal of Contaminated Equipment/ Systems

Disposal of Contaminated Equipment / Systems

Occasionally, old equipment, benches, ventilation hoods, ductwork, and/or parts of gas, plumbing, or other services are removed from laboratories. Equipment such as refrigerators or freezers, fume hoods, etc. may be disposed of through the University scrap metal salvaging system. Laboratory work benches, plumbing waste line fixtures, flooring, and other laboratory surface structures may be disposed of as solid waste.

There are several reasons for certifying that equipment used in shops and laboratories is not contaminated with biological, chemical, or radioactive contaminants. Protecting the safety and health of WSU staff, faculty, and students as they handle the equipment is essential. WSU also strives to protect the environment by properly managing contaminated wastes in accordance with environmental regulations.

  • Equipment (such as refrigerators, fume hoods, centrifuges, autoclaves, etc.) used in laboratories, shops, and other areas of the university can become contaminated with biological, chemical, or radioactive materials. The equipment must be decontaminated where reasonable and practical. If decontamination is not reasonable and practical, protective clothing and/or engineering controls must be identified which will adequately protect workers who must handle the equipment. The equipment must also be labeled to warn others of the contamination. If it is contaminated with human blood, the equipment must be managed according to the provisions of the WSU Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure Control Plan.
    Occasionally, fume hoods, refrigerators, and other similar devices may be used for storage of hazardous chemical, radiological, or biological substances. These materials must be removed from the equipment prior to the time the equipment is serviced or removed by service or maintenance employees. Adequate temporary storage for hazardous materials removed form hoods or other equipment must be provided and used so that workers are not put at risk.

    Surplus stores provides a form in BPPM 20.77 to assist laboratory, staff, and maintenance personnel with documentation of decontamination of equipment. It is the responsibility of the owners/users of contaminated laboratory or shop equipment to decontaminate such equipment and certify that it has been properly decontaminated prior to releasing it for maintenance, salvage, or disposal.

  • Remodeling or demolition activities: Plumbing waste line fixtures may be contaminated if hazardous materials are disposed of by dumping down drains. Ventilation ductwork, filters, etc., and other service systems or surfaces which are removed during remodeling or demolition activity may be contaminated by spills or release of hazardous materials. The laboratory supervisor or PI must
    • Complete the Maintenance /Construction Permit verifying that handling of the material by Facilities Operations shop and/or other contract workers will not result in illness or injury due to exposure to hazardous chemical, radioactive, or biohazard materials, and will not result in violation of hazardous materials disposal laws and regulations, and
    • Provide information to Facilities Operations and/or other contract employees which will identify safe handling procedures and proper protective clothing and devices.