Hazardous Waste Compliance for Laboratories

Federal regulations governing management of chemical waste are written and enforced with the goal of protecting our environment. EHSO interprets these very complex regulations and implements programs, such as the Laboratory Self-Inspection Program, that assist laboratories with compliance. The lab inspection process is a tool researchers should use to evaluate compliance with laboratory waste management. This includes proper management and disposal of hazardous chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and items that are classified as ‘Universal Waste’ (used batteries, mercury thermometers, aerosol cans, fluorescent lamps, and electronic waste). Occasionally, State of Georgia regulators will visit to verify Emory’s continuing commitment to environmental protection. It should be noted that the State has the ability to issue monetary penalties for violations. Therefore, it is important to ensure that any chemical waste or Universal Waste generated in your lab is disposed of properly through EHSO. The following points are reminders of how chemical and Universal Waste should be managed.

Use the Chemical Waste Management Checklist below to ensure you are handling
chemical waste properly:

  • All chemicals are disposed of through EHSO. No other method is acceptable without EHSO evaluation.
  • Waste containers are labeled with EHSO provided label and constituents are identified with the complete chemical name.
  • All chemical waste containers are closed except at the time they are being filled. Tubes from analytical instruments must be sealed within the cap.
  • Chemicals are stored in EHSO provided containers.
  • HPLC waste may be collected in containers that will accept tubes from the instrument.
  • Chemical waste is stored by compatibility groups.
  • When chemical waste is stored near a drain it is in a secondary container such as a polypropylene tray.
  • “Legacy” chemicals are unused for 10+ years and/or show signs of container deterioration.
  • Chemical containers that are p-listed (see link for chemical list) are disposed of via EHSO.
  • Chemically contaminated debris is disposed through EHSO.
  • Photo processors are equipped with a silver recovery system.

Universal Waste Management Checklist:

  • Pharmaceuticals (non-DEA):  Pharmaceuticals are disposed through EHSO
  • Batteries are labeled as “Used Battery” and with the date removed from service.  Alkaline batteries are exempt.
  • Mercury thermometers:  Place in a box and label “Used Mercury Containing Device(s)” and the date removed from service.
  • Aerosol cans
  • Fluorescent lamps: Label as “Used Lamps” and date removed from service
  • Electronic waste (electronic components, computers, etc.):  Identify as “E-Waste for recycling.

EHSO would like to urge you to stay vigilant regarding the management of chemical waste as State inspections are unannounced.   Please contact our office at (404) 727-5922 with questions regarding waste management.  EHSO will be happy to visit your lab and assist you.

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