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Chemical Hazardous Waste

Defining Chemical Hazardous Waste

A material is a hazardous waste if due to its quantity, concentration, physical, and chemical, or infectious characteristics it possesses a substantial present or potential hazard to human health and the environment and has no known use.

Preparing Hazardous Waste for Disposal Pick Up

  • Containers must have closable/sealable lids or covers.
  • Containers must be in good condition: no holes, creases, cracks, or rust.
  • The container must be compatible to the waste stored in it.
  • Label the container with the name of the chemical waste.
    • Note: Any unknown chemical containers will be tested at the department's expense.
  • Place waste container into secondary containment while waiting for disposal pick up.
  • Store waste container in an area where it will not be knocked over and possibly spilled.
  • Fill out the EH&S online form to request a hazardous waste pick up.
    • Make sure to print out 2 copies; one for your records and other to place on the hazardous waste. Fill the disposal form out completely.

Request for Waste Pick Up

Reqest a hazardous waste pick up:  http://ehs.wvu.edu/environmental/waste-management

Clean Harbors collects hazardous waste every day. Therefore, hazardous waste should never be stored for more than a day.

What CAN be put down the Drain

All wastes generated at West Virginia University must be properly disposed. All bio-hazardous waste must be managed in accordance with the West Virginia University Office of Research Integrity & Compliance, the Institutional Bio-Safety Committee (IBC) Guidelines and in accordance with applicable Federal, State, and local Regulations.  At a minimum, bio-hazardous wastes shall be disinfected or sterilized to ensure that the waste presents no biological harm to others or the environment before leaving the premises. The responsibility for identification, segregation and handling of waste rests with the generator of the waste.  The document Waste Tissue Culture Waste Determination regarding disposal of tissue culture waste spells out disposal guidance. Nothing other than water can go down the drains on campus unless a full written hazard assessment has been completed by the researcher or Environmental Health and Safety.

What NOT to Put Down the Drain

There are many restrictions and regulations on how to depose of chemicals in your laboratory. The West Virginia Environmental Protection Agency (WVEPA) and Morgantown Utility Board (MUB) both have strict regulations as to what can and cannot be poured down the drain.

Along with MUB, the HSC monitors the water discharge from ALL buildings located at the Health Sciences Campus. It is important to follow all MSDS for disposal procedures, since the chemical may interfere with the waste water treatment process, creating a release of polluted water into the Monongahela River. Moreover, pouring anything down the drains outside any building is not allowed. These drains are connected to the storm water system, which drains directly into the Monongahela River.

The following are six main categories of chemicals that cannot be disposed of down the drain. They are as follows:

  • Solid Chemicals - Solid chemicals should never be disposed of down the drain.
  • Flammable Chemicals - Liquids that have a flash point equal to or below 140°F cannot be disposed of down the drain. This would include solutions with greater than 24% alcohol content, and a variety of solvents.
  • Corrosive Chemicals - Liquids that have a pH less than or equal to 6 or greater or equal to 10 cannot be disposed of down the drain. Flushing corrosives down the drain with lots of water are NOT allowed.
  • Reactive Chemicals - Liquids that could result in an explosion, heat generation, or toxic gas release cannot be disposed of down the drain. Examples include: cyanides, azides, oxidizers, water reactive, and air-reactive chemicals.
  • Toxic Chemicals - Chemicals that have an LD50 less than 500 mg/kg OR are identified as carcinogenic, mutagenic, or tetratogenic cannot be disposed of down the drain.
  • Heavy Metals - Heavy metals should never be disposed of down the drain.

Disposal of Empty Chemical Containers

Just as there are restrictions on what can go down laboratory sinks, there are restrictions on what chemicals can on in the trash. When deposing of empty containers follow the proceeding steps:

  • For water soluble chemicals, rinse the remaining traces of chemicals in the sink with plenty of water. If the chemical is a high hazard, do not rinse the container. It must go out as hazardous waste.
  • Greater than 5 gallons that previously held hazardous materials must be dispose as hazardous waste.
  • Less than or equal to 5 gallons can be dispose in the trash.
  • Empty containers that previously held HIGH TOXIC materials must be handled as hazardous waste. (i.e... "Sodium Azide")
  • Remove or obscure the container’s label and mark “Empty” on it. Make sure that you cannot read the label.
  • The cleaned, unidentifiable container can then be placed into the trash. Glass containers can go in the recycled trash or in with the broken glass container regardless of whether it is broken or not.