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Chemical Waste Storage

Each container must be labeled with the identity of all hazardous chemicals and the appropriate hazard warnings. Whenever a chemical is transferred to an unlabelled container, a new label must be created and securely attached to the container.

Satellite Accumulation Area

Every area (room or laboratory) that may generate chemical waste MUST have a clearly identified, dedicated satellite waste accumulation area. This is a space where hazardous chemical waste is to be stored until it is taken to the Main Accumulation Area for disposal. Waste disposals are carried out at least twice a year and coordinated through Laboratory Services.

If you have waste that you wish to be removed, contact Lab Services and they will coordinate the removal.

The following are required for a satellite accumulation area:

  • No more than 55 gallons of hazardous waste (or 1 quart of acute hazardous waste) may be kept in a satellite accumulation area. THIS IS NOT A GOAL, IT IS A LIMIT! Good practice is to have any full waste bottles removed to permanent storage immediately and to clear out material from the satellite accumulation area during every waste disposal pick-up. Also, New York City Fire Department ratings for maximum flammables in a lab supersede the 55 gallon limit.
  • The satellite accumulation area must be at or near the point of generation. It must be located within the same room where the waste is generated.
  • The satellite accumulation area must be under the control of the operator. This means that the person in titular charge of the lab must be aware of what is being placed into storage.
  • All containers must be clearly labeled.
  • All containers must be compatible with the material they contain.
  • All containers must be kept closed and within the satellite accumulation area except when adding waste.
  • All containers must be placed in secondary containment units to prevent a major spill in the case that the primary container ruptures.
  • Only compatible materials may be placed in the same container.
  • Containers with incompatible materials must be kept in separate secondary containment units.
  • Anything found in the dedicated area labeled "Satellite Accumulation Area" will be considered waste and removed.
  • The satellite accumulation area must be inspected at least once a week to make sure that all containers are sealed and in good physical condition; all containers are properly labeled; and that incompatible materials are separated. It is good practice to also inspect the satellite accumulation area each time waste is added
    or removed from it.

This list is not meant to be exhaustive. A full list of regulations for satellite accumulation areas can be found on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Web site.

Labeling of Chemical Waste

All containers placed in the satellite accumulation area must be clearly labeled as to their content. Labels should be appropriate to the classification of the material being stored:

Most waste is classified as "Hazardous." Labels for its storage are available in the M606 Chemistry Prep Room.

"Listed" wastes (F-Listed, P-Listed, U-Listed, D-Listed), should each be stored in separate containers with the listing CLEARLY shown.

The contents of the container should be clearly written on the label. The contents should be written out in full, no abbreviations or chemical formulae should be used.

Classification of Waste Material

Hazardous waste is a waste with properties that make it dangerous or potentially harmful to human health or the environment. The following are the classifications of hazardous waste produced in a laboratory.

  • Characteristic Waste (D-List): This is the broadest category and encompasses the large majority of waste commonly produced in a university setting. By definition, any waste not specifically "listed" is considered hazardous if it exceeds safety criteria in any of the following areas: ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity and toxicity. Chemicals that can be deemed "abandoned" due to their location in an unused room or by a general appearance of age and neglect are also characteristic wastes.
  • The P-list and the U-list (discarded commercial chemical products): These lists include specific commercial chemical products in an unused form. Some pesticides and some pharmaceutical products become hazardous waste when discarded. Wastes included on the P- and U-lists can be found in the regulations at the EPA Web site under hazardous waste.
  • The F-list (non-specific source wastes): This list identifies wastes from common manufacturing and industrial processes, such as solvents that have been used in cleaning or degreasing operations. Because the processes producing these wastes can occur in different sectors of industry, the F-listed wastes are known as wastes from non-specific sources. Wastes included on the F-list can be found in the regulations at the EPA Web Site under hazardous waste.
  • The K-list (source-specific wastes): This list includes certain wastes from specific industries, such as petroleum refining or pesticide manufacturing. Certain sludges and waste waters from treatment and production processes in these industries are examples of source-specific wastes. Wastes included on the K-list can be found in the regulations at the EPA Web Site under hazardous waste.

The material presented here is not represented to be exhaustive or all inclusive. Full information on the definition of hazardous wastes can be found at the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection .