Waste Pickup Service Schedule Change, Morningside Campus by Roman Tarasyuk

Starting Monday May 2nd 2011, the EH&S will implement a new, more efficient schedule for radioactive, hazardous and mixed waste collection services at the Morningside Campus.
All waste pickups and services are provided on the following days:

  • Monday:  CEPSR, Engineering Terrace, Fairchild, Mudd, Pupin, Schermerhorn, Schermerhorn Extension
  • Tuesday:  Chandler, Dodge and Havemeyer
  • Wednesday:  All radioactive and mixed waste pickups and services for the whole campus
  • Thursday:  Northwest Corner
  • Friday:  Chandler and Havemeyer

Please submit an online radioactive waste pickup request or hazardous waste pickup request.  Then ensure that your waste is prepared as follows:

  • An appropriate waste label is affixed to each container to be collected by EH&S for disposal

•           All waste labels list the proper chemical names of all constituents in each container (no generic names, abbreviations or chemical formulas please)
•           All hazardous waste containers must remain in the laboratory/room in which the waste was generated (i.e., at or near the point of generation).  Please do not move hazardous waste containers into the corridor or into any other room
•           All waste containers are tightly closed
If wastes are not prepared as specified, the waste cannot be removed by EH&S.  The improved service schedule is one of the many ways we continue to look for ways to streamline our operations without compromising the quality of service that lab personnel expect from us.  Should you have any questions please feel free to contact EH&S office at 212-854-8749 and ask for a Hazardous Materials Officer.

Alcohol + Flame = Trouble by Paul Rubock

The practice of keeping flammables in proximity to a Bunsen burner poses an obvious fire hazard, especially in biological safety cabinets (tissue culture hoods).  The burner can be eliminated if sterile, single-use, disposable inoculating and transfer devices are used.  Remember, the air inside the cabinet’s work space is microbiologically sterile and the perceived need to flame ‘everything’ is a by-product of an era when most work was conducted on the open bench.  

In combination with the Bunsen burner, the use of flammable ethanol for disinfection inside of the BSC creates a hazardous environment, as illustrated by a recent incident at the University. An investigator, working inside a biosafety cabinet, was sterilizing cover slips by dipping them in ethanol and flaming them with a Bunsen burner. The work came to an abrupt halt when some flaming alcohol dripped off the cover slip igniting other materials within the cabinet.  Fortunately, personnel in the laboratory were knowledgeable about response procedures and put out the fire with an extinguisher. (Do you know where your laboratory’s extinguisher is and how to use it?)
Refer to ”Fire Prevention and Biological Safety”, http://ehs.columbia.edu/Policy2.4.html#two.4.2 in the Biosafety section of Columbia’s Health and Safety Manual for additional fire safety prevention information relevant to laboratory activities.  For additional information on how flames actually disrupt the sterile environment of a BSC, please see http://www.ehs.columbia.edu/Policy2.3d.html#two.3.1.


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