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Lab Waste Management Plan

7.0 Laboratory Waste Management (excerpt from BC Chemical Hygiene and Laboratory Waste Management Plan)

The aim of the waste disposal program is to assure that minimal harm to people, other organisms, and the environment results from the disposal of waste laboratory chemicals. Laboratory wastes shall be handled, stored, transported, and disposed of in accordance with applicable local, state, and federal regulations, including those of the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

7.1 Standard Operating Procedure for the Disposal of Hazardous Waste

A hazardous waste service company is used to collect hazardous waste from the laboratories and store it in the Main Accumulation Areas (MAAs) until it is shipped for disposal. No Boston College employee should take hazardous waste down to the MAA unless authorized by EHS.

a.      Hazardous chemical waste shall be separated at the source to the extent practicable, according to the chemical classes and potential hazards.

b.      Sink disposal of all hazardous chemicals is prohibited in all buildings except in Merkert, Higgins and Devlin where there are facilities for acid neutralization. Uncontaminated dilute acids and bases may be disposed in lab sinks. Dilution for disposal purposes only is forbidden.

c.      One area in each laboratory should be marked and designated as a Laboratory Waste Accumulation Area (LWAA). If stored on the floor, waste containers should be placed in secondary containers to prevent the release of chemicals from spills.

d.      The LWAA must be inspected weekly and documented on the Laboratory Waste Area Inspection Form (Figure 10).

e.      Choose appropriate containers for storage. Make sure all containers are impervious and labeled. General practice is that flammable wastes are stored in no larger than one gallon glass bottles.

f.       All containers must be completely and properly labeled. Use BC’s hang tags or orange chemical waste labels available at your department office or the EHS Office. The labels will say “Hazardous/Laboratory Waste.”

g.     All liquid waste containers must be in secondary containment at collection sites as well as in the LWAA.

h.      If you are using funnels to pour waste into containers, insert the funnel only when pouring. Funnels can be stored in a small plastic beaker. Waste containers must be kept closed at all times except when pouring waste. Eco Funnels are allowed to be permanently affixed to solvent waste containers.  They must remain closed and latched except when adding hazardous waste.

i.       Once waste is ready to be picked up, the Hazardous Waste Inventory Form must be filled out. All completed forms should be dropped off at your department office.

j.       Waste pick-ups occur twice a week, currently on Mondays and Thursdays.

k.      Call the EHS Office for the procedure on disposal of unknown chemicals.

l.       If your department has a large amount of waste due to a lab clean-out, contact the EHS Office for disposal procedures. DO NOT include waste clean outs in the regular pick-ups.

m.    Non-chemical wastes (e.g., broken glass, paper, etc.) should be placed in designated containers only after ensuring that such wastes are free of residues of hazardous chemicals

n.      The LWAA must be secured and under the responsibility of the staff in that laboratory.

o.      Waste containers will have a maximum capacity of 55 gallons.

Boston College has two EPA ID numbers.  Merkert Chemistry Building, located in Boston, is a Large Quantity Generator of hazardous waste. The MAA is Merkert 015B. The remainder of Main and Brighton campuses (contiguous) are considered a Small Quantity Generator of hazardous waste.  The hazardous waste storage room is located in Higgins Hall, Room 175 B.

Waste Minimization: Boston College is committed to waste minimization.  Every laboratory worker is trained in waste minimization at their initial training.  We employ the following minimization practices:

Substitution of less hazardous chemicals

Reduction in quantities of chemicals used

Redistribution of chemicals from lab clean-outs.

Please utilize opportunities for waste minimization as you plan and conduct your research.

7.2 Disposal of Gas Cylinders

1.      Most five foot tanks are rented from Airgas. When empty, these gas tanks are exchanged for new ones by. Check with your department’s operations manager for specific instructions on managing gas cylinder exchanges.

2.      Lecture size cylinders:  If it is possible to purchase gases in reusable containers, that is preferred and is a waste minimization practice. Follow the directions of the manufacturer on return of empty containers. 

3.      Often, small gas containers are not returnable.  If you have used all the gas in the container, open the cylinder under the hood to be sure it is empty, write the word “EMPTY” on it and then place the cylinder (valve open) in LWAA with appropriate waste tag.  If you are discarding a cylinder that still has gas in it, leave the cylinder in a fume hood until the next waste pick-up, and then label it and give it to the waste technician.

4.      Old cylinders with unknown contents should be reported to EHS. Attempt to gain information about unknowns by speaking to other laboratory personnel about the cylinder’s history prior to contact.

5.      Deliberate release of hazardous material from gas cylinders in a fume hood for purposes of disposal is strictly prohibited. Disposal of all hazardous material must be done in accordance with regulatory guidelines.

7.3 Sharps Disposal

The following is the procedure for storing and disposing of sharps in the laboratory:

a.      Obtain the appropriately sized sharps container (available from the department Operations Manager) for your purpose.

b.      Place the entire syringe or other sharp object to be disposed of in the container.

c.      When the container is full, fully seal the container and make sure the waste label is completed.

d.      Each department will be provided with a large cardboard box to store all of the department’s sharps.

e.      Place sealed container in designated location set by each department:

f.       When boxes are full, contact your Operations Manager for pick-up.

Designate a separate sharps container for radioactive materials and arrange for disposal with Radiation Safety Officer or Radiation Technician.

Follow the instructions in the Biosafety Manual for disinfection and disposal of biohazard-contaminated sharps.