In April, EH&S with the assistance of a third-party, independent auditor, performed a University-wide safety and compliance audit of research laboratories. Under the chemical waste management portion of the audit, the audit team was tasked with evaluating how well laboratories are adhering to the University's "5 Ls of Hazardous Waste Management," a simple tool developed by EH&S to ensure compliance with complex EPA regulations regarding proper collection, storage and management of hazardous waste. The 5 L's:
CoLLect all of your hazardous chemical wastes and submit an online chemical pick-up request form for proper disposal. DO NOT dispose of hazardous waste inappropriately by neutralization, treatment, evaporation, or dilution.
Label the container as soon as the first drop of material enters the waste collection container, include all of the components and their percentage. DO NOT use chemical formulae, abbreviations, symbols or generic names (ex: "solvent", "halogenated", etc.) on Hazardous Waste Labels.
'Lids must be closed at all times, except when actively adding waste. Use a closeable Lid that will prevent the hazardous waste from spilling. Ensure process wastes, like HPLCs, have a tight fitting cap. DO NOT leave a funnel in a hazardous waste container.
Locate hazardous waste containers at or near the point of the Hazardous Waste's generation. DO NOT move hazardous waste containers outside of the room in which the waste was generated. If the lab has a room within it, waste may not be moved to or from this room.
Leaks must be reported to EH&S immediately. Inspect Satellite Accumulation Areas weekly for Leaks. DO NOT allow Leaking containers to remain in Satellite Accumulation Areas.
Overall, the University performed very well during the audit. Laboratories that did not fare as well have been or will be visited by EH&S to review the 5L's (as well as other items identified during the audit). Don't forget:Unauthorized drain disposal of unwanted chemicals is strictly forbidden.
Hidden Heavy Metal Waste Hazards by Courtney Drayer
Laboratories may generate some uncommon metal waste streams that may be overlooked due to their inconspicuous nature. Columbia University's hazardous waste disposal policy does not set a threshold limit for the collection of hazardous waste, including scrap metals and hazardous salts (e.g., potassium dichromate). Please take care to collect metal shavings from machine shops, lead, silver and brass soldering scraps, and any metals fused to glass (e.g.; chromates, silvers, copper) for high temperature gaseous oxidation and reduction reactions. Keeping these metals out of municipal landfills will keep them out landfill leachate and ultimately, our water supply. These wastes can be disposed of through your campus EH&S Department via the on-line Chemical Waste Pick-up Request Form.
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