Hazardous Waste Undercover
by Dan Condon, Hazardous Materials Specialist
One of Columbia University’s 5Ls of Hazardous Waste Management, “Lid”, refers to the EPA requirement for keeping hazardous waste containers closed. Under the “Lid” requirement, containers holding hazardous waste must be "kept closed, except when necessary to add or remove hazardous wastes" [40 CFR 264.173(a)]. The regulation further states that the containers "must not be opened, handled or stored in a manner which may rupture the container or cause it to leak" [40 CFR 264.173(b)]. To help hazardous waste generators better understand the intent of the closed container rules, EPA’s most recent guidance document on the issue attempts to clarify the conditions of the “Lid” requirement.
According to the EPA, "Management of liquid hazardous wastes in containers poses three potential problems: risks from inhalation, risks from the potential buildup of vapors, and risk from an accidental spill." Keeping containers closed can help protect against all three of these concerns. Containers storing hazardous wastes in Satellite Accumulation Areas (i.e., areas within a laboratory where chemical waste is collected and managed prior to removal) are considered to be closed when, "all openings or lids are properly and securely affixed."
Keeping containers properly closed "is simply a matter of good operating practice," the EPA explains, and compliance with this standard will help make your workplace cleaner and safer. Funnels with locking lids on hazardous waste containers are a useful tool to help protect against these hazards, however, some simple precautions are advised. For example, the act of opening and closing a funnel’s locking lid could cause the container to topple over due to an imbalance in the configuration. This instability could be rectified by securing the hazardous waste container in a wide base stand (see photo; one such option is available from www.calpaclab.com). A properly selected stand would have an added benefit of being a secondary container. Clearly, not all hazardous waste containers need funnels with lock-ing lids and base stands. However, these devices may benefit laboratories whose procedures require frequent usage of a hazardous waste container.
For assistance in reviewing your laboratory’s waste collection and storage practices, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Laboratory Relocation Guide Update
by Corey Wintamute, Senior Research Safety Specialist
The Columbia University Laboratory Relocation Guide is now available on the EH&S website @
http://ehs.columbia.edu/LabRelocationGuide.html. This Guide is a helpful tool for anyone involved with relocating a laboratory. Whether the move is to another campus building, within the building, or to another institution, this Guide provides all of the necessary information to help ensure a safe and compliant move.
For more information about laboratory moves, please contact email@example.com.