Hazardous Waste--What Is
Hazardous waste can include spent
solvents as well as many pesticides and excess/discarded/spilled chemicals. This waste is
generated from sources as diverse as the Motor Pool and the Laser Research Lab. A
substance (gas, liquid, solid, or sludge) may be hazardous if it is ignitable, corrosive,
toxic, or reactive.
It's important to remember that
precautions should always be taken when working with a hazardous substance. Laboratories
and garages aren't the only places these materials can be found. Products such as drain
and toilet bowl cleaners should be handled with caution. Protect your eyes so nothing will
splash into them, and wash off anything that spills on your skin (within 15 minutes).
Most of us forget about art supplies'
inherent risks. Although lead is restricted from household paints, it's still present in
many artists' paints--especially ceramic glazes. Other heavy metals, such as cadmium and
mercury, may also be present. Be sure to use these paints in a well-ventilated area!
Remember that paint cleaning solvents such as turpentine and kerosene are hazardous
Known hazardous waste and surplus
chemicals (generated by campus sources) are picked up by the Environmental Health &
Safety Department and transported to the campus chemical storage facility, where they are
held for less than 90 days before final disposal. Departments are encouraged to check with
EHS for any usable chemicals.
All chemical/hazardous disposals are
managed according to state and federal laws. These complex laws are very specific about
what can or cannot be managed. One hazardous substance that Hazmat personnel do not deal
with is asbestos. Asbestos is covered by another set of laws and regulations, and is
handled by the Physical Plant's asbestos section.
Any researcher who uses or generates
biohazard waste in the course of an experiment is responsible for the proper disposal of
that waste in accordance with National Institute of Health guidelines.
As yet, there are no regulations
governing the disposal of household hazardous waste. For more information, contact the
Payne County Health Department (405-372-8200).
A Chemical Surplus Removal Request form is required before any
chemical can be picked up. This lists the containers you have, as well as their
constituent amounts, physical states, who's requesting the removal, where the chemicals
are located, etc. Mail this to the Environmental Health & Safety Department (002 University Health Services).
Each container must be sealed and
labeled with a Hazardous Chemical Surplus Tag (Form HM95-2). These tags list what
chemicals are in the containers. All forms and tags are available from the EHS Department.
Many departments keep a supply of these.
After the paperwork is received, the
chemicals are researched for hazards and any special handling. This is to ensure that once
a chemical is received, it can be handled, segregated, and disposed of safely.
Depending on the work load or the
amount of chemical to be picked up, most requests are honored within two weeks.