Satellite Collection Points Training and Quiz

Read the following information concerning hazardous waste disposal at Murray State University and then take and submit the on-line quiz to complete the training.

Why do I need to understand this information?

Processes that generate hazardous waste on campus also store the waste for pick up by the Office of Environmental Safety and Health.  Typically most of the generation points on campus are science labs or art studios.  The chemical waste storage areas are considered by the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) regulations as satellite collection points.  Operators (faculty and staff) are required by the environmental law to be specifically trained in how to handle the waste chemicals.  The purpose of the following information is to inform the collection point operator with what is required and to provide proof of knowledge.  Murray State does have regular inspections from the Kentucky Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection and proof of satellite operators training is checked.  Failure to comply can result in fines of up to $25,000 per day.

What is hazardous waste?

A list of chemicals, which the EPA considers to hazardous is quite lengthy and subject to change.  A multi-page list is available on this web site.  Nearly any concentration of listed waste present in a compound causes that compound to be considered a hazardous waste and subject to the regulation with regards to disposal.  Even an operation as simple as rinsing out glassware with acetone and draining the acetone down the drain is a violation of the hazardous waste laws.  Formaldehyde solutions can not legally be put down the drain.

If the chemical is not on the list I can put it in the drain... right?

If a chemical is not on the list it still can fall into several other categories that cause the EPA to regard it as one.  Corrosives with pH of 2.5 and lower, or pH of 12.5 and higher are automatically considered to be a hazardous waste.  However, the City of Murray requires that solutions put into a sanitary sewer drain have a pH of more than 6.

Chemicals that have a flash point of 140 degrees F or lower are considered to be a hazardous waste and cannot be drained into our sinks.  Chemicals that have halogenated hydrocarbons in excess of 50 parts per million are to be disposed of as hazardous waste.

Finally, chemical compounds that fail a Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) are considered to be hazardous waste.  So to sum it up, nearly all solutions that are generated in science labs and art studios are hazardous waste.  To knowingly or unknowingly put hazardous waste down the drain could get the university in trouble, but it is also considered a criminal offense and will also bring legal ramifications of the individual performing the act.

There are some other chemicals that are regulated as hazardous waste, but under other environmental laws.  Asbestos, PCBs, rechargeable batteries, fluorescent light bulbs and oils are some examples.  The Office of Environmental Safety and Health handles the disposal or can direct you to those that can do so on campus.

When is the hazardous waste picked up?

Typical waste pick ups are once a week near the end of the week.  Each semester all of the satellite collection points are checked.  If necessary, they will arrange for a pick up at that time.  If a pick up is needed prior to that, call extension 3480 between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. to arrange a pick up.  The satellite operator does not have to be present when the waste is picked up.

Where is the hazardous waste stored?

The waste is stored in a specifically engineered building on Murray State campus.  The building is located well away from classrooms and resident facilities.  The building has special engineering controls to prevent gas build up and ground water contamination.  The waste is inventoried, labeled and stored until a licensed hazardous waste firm picks up the waste and disposes of it, typically by burning it in an incinerator.

What should I do if the solution is radioactive and a hazardous waste?

The EPA regulates this type of waste with a separate set of regulations.  This chemical/radioactive waste is designated to be a mixed waste.  The waste should be properly labeled and the Radiation Safety Officer should be notified.  They will arrange for the proper disposal of the material.  The radioactive material needs to be excluded from the typical hazardous waste.  Not only is the proper labeling needed, as well as the proper container, but the type and activity level of the radiation needs to be known.  It does take a long time to get rid of the waste which is radioactive.

Now take the on-line quiz to complete the training.