High Performance (Pressure) Liquid Chromatography uses effluents with varying polarities as carriers for organic compounds in samples being analyzed. The resulting effluents are typically a mixture of water and some common solvents: acetone, acetonitrile, methanol, and/or hexane. These ignitable effluents are considered hazardous wastes and must be managed in accordance with the “5 L’s of Hazardous Waste Management” (see previous article), even while the effluent container is still connected to the HPLC. This means the container must bear a label, identifying the specific solvents and the lid must be kept securely closed.
Since HPLC effluent is directly deposited into the waste container via attached tubing, there are a few methods to ensure that the lid is tightly sealed (leak-proof if overturned). One option is to purchase a waste disposal container from the HPLC manufacturer or other laboratory equipment supplier. These containers are made specifically to address the “closed container” requirements of the hazardous waste regulations; the tubing ports are built directly into the container cap to allow for a tight connection. Alternatively, rubber stoppers built to similar specifications can be purchased. One of the least expensive options is to drill one or more holes, depending on the HPLC set-up, into the cap of the effluent container. EH&S recommends a small bead of silicone to seal the penetration after the tubing is inserted through the cap to ensure a good seal. Whichever option you choose, the caps can then remain attached to the equipment and the waste container can be closed with a spare, solid cap while awaiting disposal by EH&S.
If you need help setting up your HPLC effluent container (or any other laboratory equipment with effluent tubing) to ensure it will pass EPA muster, or if you simply need some help drilling holes in your container caps, please contact EH&S.
Working with an independent consultant, EH&S recently completed its all-campus triennial audit of the University’s Hazardous Waste Programs. We are pleased to report that CU ranked in the highest echelon of compliance for similar institutions. EH&S thanks the members of the University with whom we and the auditors interacted, particularly laboratory staff and campus Facilities groups. In addition to facilitating the process, they are largely responsible for the overwhelmingly positive audit results.
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