The TAMU Hazardous Waste Management Program is administered by the University's Environmental Health and Safety Department (EHSD) . TAMU is not permitted to treat or dispose of hazardous waste locally. Information on specific responsibilities and procedures may be obtained by calling EHSD at 845-2132. EHSD collects hazardous waste from Room 001G in the Chemistry Building, transports it, and properly stores it until it is shipped for disposal and maintains permanent records of all disposed waste. Generators of hazardous chemical are responsible for following University disposal procedures, for assuring that their employees are trained in proper disposal procedures, and for properly identifying the hazardous chemical waste generated. The following procedures are intended to assure compliance with applicable Federal and State regulations for the proper management of hazardous chemical waste and to reduce adverse effects to human health and the environment.
- A material becomes "waste" when the individual generator determines that it is no longer useful and should be discarded. A material is "hazardous chemical waste" if it listed in the Federal Regulations(40CFR, Subpart D) or it meets the definition of one of the following:
Hazardous chemicals can be treated to reduce the hazard or the quantity of waste in the laboratory if the treatment procedure is included in the experimental protocol.
Empty compressed gas cylinders should be returned to the manufacturer or distributor whenever possible. Non-returnable cylinders should be labeled as hazardous waste.
"Mixed Waste" (includes both radioactive material and hazardous chemicals) should be initially routed through EHSD.
Chemical waste whose identity is unknown will be picked up by EHSD; however, generators will be charged for the cost of the analysis necessary to determine the chemical identity for proper disposal. In such cases, use "unknown" for the chemical description on the disposal tag.
- Ignitability (flash point < 60 C or supports combustion)
- Reactivity (e.g., explosives, unstable chemicals, responds violently to air or water)
- Corrosivity (pH <4 or >10)
- EP toxicity (e.g., pesticides, heavy metals, poisons)
- Material is not excluded from regulations.
For additional information about hazardous or non-hazardous chemicals, contact the Environmental Safety Health Department, 845-2132.
Classification and Segregation of Hazardous Chemical Waste
- Hazardous chemical waste is categorized into the following hazard classes:
Different classes of hazardous chemical waste must not to be co-mingled in the same waste container. Do not combine inorganic heavy metal compounds and organic waste solvents. Do not combine non-hazardous waste (e.g., a mixture of water, dilute acetic acid, and sodium bicarbonate) with hazardous chemical waste, since this then requires that the entire container of otherwise non-hazardous waste be treated as hazardous waste.
Dry material (paper, rag, towels, gloves, Kim-Wipes, etc.) That is contaminated with flammable or extremely toxic chemicals must be treated as hazardous chemical waste.
Sharps (needles, razor blades, etc.) must be encapsulated (Place the sharps in a "puncture resistant" container or a plastic/metal container, and then fill it with paraffin or plaster of Paris.). Discard the containers of encapsulated sharps as non-hazardous trash.
- halogenated solvents
- non-halogenated solvents
- acids (inorganic or organic)
- bases (inorganic or organic)
- heavy metals (silver, cadmium, lead, mercury, etc.)
- poisons (inorganic or organic)
- reactives (cyanides, sulfides, water reactive chemicals, peroxides, etc.)
Containment and Storage of Hazardous Chemical Waste
- Individual waste generators (i.e.,teaching and research laboratories) must assure that their hazardous chemical wastes are accumulated in safe, transportable containers and are stored properly to prevent human exposure or environmental release to the waste materials.
- Containers must be closed or sealed to prevent leakage.
- Waste generators must use waste containers that are compatible with the chemical contents (i.e., do not use metal containers for corrosive waste or plastic containers for organic solvents). Containers must be in good condition and not leak. All containers must have suitable screw caps or other means of secure closure.
- Never overfill hazardous waste containers. Expansion and excess weight can lead to spills, explosions, and extensive environmental exposure.
- Containers of solids must not be filled beyond their weight and volume capacity.
- Jugs and bottles should not be filled above the shoulder of the container.
- Closed head cans (5 gallons or less) should have at least two inches of head space between the liquid level and the head of the container.
All waste collection containers must be kept closed, except when adding or removing material.
Labels and Labeling
- The original chemical label on containers used for waste accumulation must be destroyed or defaced.
- EPA regulations require that waste containers be labeled with the accumulation start date, content identity, and the words "Hazardous Waste" when the chemical waste is first added.
- Using string, attach a completed Hazardous Waste Disposal Tag (available from the Chemistry Stockroom, Room 014) to each new waste container when the first chemical is added.
Print the information on the tag legibly.
- It is illegal to dispose of hazardous chemicals in any of the following ways:
Empty chemical containers may be disposed with other non-hazardous trash, provided that the following requirements are satisfied. EPA regulations stipulate that an empty chemical container must:
- Disposal down the drain.
- Intentional evaporation in a fume hood.
- Disposal in the regular trash.
It is not necessary to break empty glass containers when placing them in a dumpster. Empty chemical containers not handled in this manner must be treated as hazardous chemical waste (very expensive).
EHSD will not pickup containers with improper caps, leaks, outside contamination, or improper labeling.
The Chemistry Department maintains a hazardous chemical waste satellite accumulation area in Room 001G. The hours that this room is open to accept hazardous waste deliveries change periodically and are posted on the door to the room, as well as on the "Safety Information" bulletin board adjacent to Room 124. When hazardous waste containers are full or ready for disposal, the tagged container(s) should be brought to Room 001G during the designated waste receiving hours. After the staff member in the room confirms that they are properly labeled, the containers will be stored in Room 001G and await collection by EHSD.
- not contain free liquid or solid residue,
- be triple rinsed,
- have the label removed or defaced,
- have the lid or cap removed, and
- have a hole punched in the bottom (metal or plastic containers).
Follow the example below to properly complete hazardous waste disposal tags.
- Attach a separate Hazardous Waste Disposal Tag to each waste container.
- Both upper and lower sections of the tag must be filled out completely and legibly (for record keeping).
- Secure the top part of the tag to the container with a string that encircles the top of the container. Rubber bands, tape, and wire are not acceptable.
- List all of the chemical components in a waste container (including water). Lists may be continued on the back of the tag.
- Tags for containers of potentially explosive materials such as picric acid, silanes, nitro compounds, and ethers must indicate the percentage concentrations of these chemicals.
Hazardous Waste Minimization
The U.S. Congress has made waste minimization a national policy and the goal of each waste generator. The following practices will help to reduce the volume and toxicity of hazardous waste, benefitting everyone's health and safety, protecting the environment, and reducing disposal costs:
- Use non-hazardous or less toxic materials in your process, e.g.,
- use "No-Chromix", detergents, or enzymatic cleaners instead of chromic acid; or
- use non-hazardous scintillation cocktails instead of xylene or toluene based cocktails.
- Scale Down
- Take a look at your process. Micro techniques will decrease the amount of solvent or reagent needed, thus decreasing the amount of waste generated.
- If you have reagents that are no longer needed, ask your colleagues if they may find them useful. Redistill your solvents when possible.
- Chemically neutralize dilute acids and bases not contaminated by other chemicals in the lab to reduce their hazard.
- Purchase only the amount of chemical actually needed for the experiment. Dispose of old reagents that are no longer needed. Keep track of the chemical inventory. When purchasing new equipment or developing new experiments, keep the type of waste generated in mind.
- Train everyone in waste minimization practices and correct waste disposal procedures.
Many operations in chemical laboratories involve dangerous materials. The well-being of an individual as well as of those around him/her demands that careful attention be given to safety. It is tragically true that the results of a moment's carelessness or thoughtlessness can cost a life, or a lifetime of disability. Equipment which operates unattended must be posted with emergency shut-down procedures. It must be interlocked to be fail-safe in the event of failure of utility service such as power, water, compressed air, etc.
Discuss every hazardous procedure with your research director, with your supervisor, or with persons knowledgeable in the field. Any occurrence, even though improbable, that produces a highly dangerous situation must be anticipated (e.g., pressure vessels must be equipped with safety valves; highly toxic materials being processed in a glass equipment train or vacuum line will be released if the train breaks; therefore, the operation must be carried out in a suitable hood, etc.)
Reports of unsafe conditions should be brought to the attention of your supervisor, the Department Head's Office, or the departmental Business Office.
A written report on every accident involving a fire or personal injury must be filed with Judy Ludwig in Room 121, in order that procedures to replenish all fire extinguisher and to secure Workers' Compensation coverage for injured individuals will be activated. Standard forms on which these reports must be written are available from Judy Ludwig in Room 121.
Evacuation of Buildings
Because of the complexity of the Chemistry Building, it is impractical to assign evacuation routes. Plan your evacuation route before it becomes necessary to use it. Be familiar with it, and always have an alternative route in mind. As a rule, DO NOT USE THE ELEVATORS. (If fire alarms have been activated, elevators will not operate.) Persons who are unable to walk should be carried. All personnel should assemble in the following areas after evacuating the building:
- 1928 Wing
- Across Ross Street in front of Reed McDonald Building
- 1932 Wing
- On the mall west of the building by the water fountain
- 1959 Wing
- In the plaza area south of the building between Chemistry and Francis Hall; Parking Lot 23
- 1972 Wing
- In Parking Lot 23 south of the building
- 1986 Wing
- Across the street in front of the Halbouty Geosciences Building or Doherty Petroleum Engineering
It is imperative that any emergency be reported quickly and precisely.
Call 9-911 or 5-2345 to notify the University Police on a 24-hour basis.
Call 5-3335 to notify the departmental Business Office during regular working hours.
Outside normal business hours, contact the Physical Plant Radio Room at 5-4311.
In the event that it is necessary to evacuate part of or the entire Chemistry Building complex, each research group and instructional laboratory will be notified by a designated contact person.
General Emergency Procedures
Not Life Threatening (e.g., electrical power failure, water failure, nontoxic chemical spill).
- Report the emergency to the departmental Business Office (5-3335). Outside regular working hours, report the emergency to the Physical Plant Radio Room 5-4311. The nature of the emergency will be assessed and reported to the University Police.
- Notify all people in the immediate area affected by the emergency.
Life Threatening (e.g., fire, toxic chemical spill, bomb scare)
- If fire, sound the fire alarm.
- Call the University Police, (9-911 or 5-2345); identify yourself, and give the location and nature of the accident.
- Call the departmental Business Office (5-3335) and report the emergency. Outside regular working hours, report the emergency to the Physical Plant Radio Room (5-4311).
- Notify people in the immediate vicinity.
- Provide assistance, if possible.
- If it is necessary to evacuate the immediate area or the entire building, you will be contacted and instructed to go to the evacuation area.
- Chemical Spill/Exposure: For any chemical spill which results in skin or eye contact, immediately flood the affected area using an emergency eye wash or shower. If possible, clothes should be removed when using the shower, since they can keep toxic chemical in contact with the skin and reduce the effectiveness of the shower. After thorough irrigation, treatment should be sought at the Beutel Health Center. Detailed information on toxicity (MSDS's) and proper response to exposure for most chemicals is available in the Business Office, Room 119. MSDS information is also available on-line . If there is severe personal injury, the University Police or Beutel Health Center will provide transportation for the injured to St. Joseph's Hospital or Brazos Valley Medical Hospital, as appropriate, where full emergency facilities are available. Call 9-911 or 5-2345 to alert the University Police Department. If there is a fire, the College Station Fire Department will provide assistance.
Personal Injury Emergency Procedures
Minor Personal Injury
If minor injury occurs, employees should see a healthcare provider or medical center of their choice. For workers’ compensation coverage employees should, upon check-in, report their visit as a work-related injury. Non-employee students and visiting scholars who are not covered under the Texas A&M University System Workers’ Compensation Insurance Program can see a healthcare provider or medical center of their choice.
Non-employee students can visit the Beutel Health Center.
IN THE CASE OF BURNS, ANY BURN COVERING AN AREA LARGER THAN THE PALM OF A HAND OR ANY BURN WHICH OCCURS AROUND THE FACE OR HEAD SHOULD BE TREATED AS A SERIOUS INJURY.
Serious Personal Injury
For serious injuries, such as the burns described above or any injury where there is the possibility of traumatic shock, the following procedures should be followed:
- Call the University Police (9-911 or 5-2345); identify yourself and give the location and nature of the injury.
- Call the departmental Business Office (5-3335) and report the injury.
The University Police or an ambulance will transport the injured person to the nearest off-campus medical center.
N THE EVENT OF ANY INJURY, WHETHER MINOR OR SERIOUS, A WRITTEN INJURY REPORT FORM MUST BE FILED WITH JUDY LUDWIG IN ROOM 122.
Laboratory Safety References
The following is a list of recommended manuals and handbooks dealing with safety in the laboratory. They are available in the Business Office, Room 119.
- "Chemical Hazards of the Workplace", Proctor and Hughes
- "CRC Handbook of Laboratory Safety" 2nd edition
- "Effects of Exposure to Toxic Gases - First Aid and Medical Treatment"; 2nd edition, Matheson Gas Products
- "Handbook of Reactive Chemical Hazards"; 3rd edition, Bretherick
"Patty's Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology" Volumes 1-3B
- "Prudent Practices for Disposal of Chemicals in the Laboratory"; National Research Council, National Academy Press
- "Prudent Practices for Handling Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories"; National Research Council, National Academy Press
- "Rapid Guide to Hazardous Chemicals in the Workplace", N. Irving Sax and Richard J. Lewis "Safety", 2nd edition, Volumes 1 & 2
Laboratory Fume Hoods
The chemical fume hoods in our laboratories are designed to protect you from toxic and noxious vapors. They are the most important item of safety equipment in your laboratory. In order to gain the full protection these hoods afford, the following operating procedures should always be observed:
- Call the Business Office at 5-3335 if you have any reason to suspect that your fume hood is not operating properly.
- Never change the position of the flutes that control the exhaust in your hood. These exhaust systems are very delicately balanced, and adjusting the exhaust on one hood affects every other hood on the same system.
- Be aware that very high face velocities will not provide a safer hood. Velocities much above 100 ft. per minute generate turbulence at the face of the hood, causing puffs of air from within the hood to contaminate the room.
- Do not block the ventilation slots at the back of the hood. This adversely affects the operation of the hood.
- Set up your apparatus as close to the center of the hood working surface as is practical.
- Avoid putting your head inside the hood and stand a few inches back from the hood sashes when the experiment or reaction is in progress.
- The vertical sliding sashes in most of our fume hoods are intended to be used as safety shields. Maximum protection is provided when the sashes are fully closed.
- Keep hood sashes closed whenever you do not need immediate access.
- Do not impede movement of sashes. You should be able to completely close the front of your fume hood. If sashes are missing or damaged, call the Business Office at 5-3335.
- It is wasteful to use fume hoods as storage cabinets for noxious chemicals. Try to use ventilated storage cabinets instead.
- Walk-in fume hoods are intended for large set-ups and you should only be inside the hood while assembling or making adjustments to your equipment. They offer no protection if you stand inside the hood.
Mercury spills should be cleaned up immediately. A vacuum cleaner for picking up mercury is available from the stockroom in Room 014. This unit has a special cell to trap the mercury and has a filtered exhaust that prevents mercury vapor from being expelled into the atmosphere and is to be used exclusively on mercury.
Use of the Mercury Vacuum:
PLEASE READ THE INSTRUCTIONS ATTACHED TO THE UNIT FOR OPERATION PROCEDURES.
To check out the unit, contact the stockroom personnel, Room 014. Sign out in the "Mercury Vacuum Log Book". A clean bag is inside the unit; please replace it with a new one (available next to the vacuum) after use. Seal the paper vacuum cleaner bag in the plastic bag provided and bring it back to the research stockroom with the vacuum during business hours, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Gloves are available in the research stockroom.
If you suspect the presence of mercury vapor in your area, call Ronald G. Carter at 845-3335.