What do I do if I spill a hazardous
How do I tell if my chemical waste is a regulated
How do I determine the hazard class of my Chemical
Where do I get containers for my hazardous chemical
How do I safely store my chemicals in my laboratory?
What do I do with empty containers?
What can I do with my unused (surplus) chemicals?
Where can I get unused (surplus) chemicals?
Can I treat my chemical wastes to make them safer
or prior to
How do I get my regulated hazardous chemical waste
Where does my chemical waste go once EH&S picks
Is there a charge for having my chemical waste picked
What do I do about mixed chemical hazardous wastes
Can I mix different chemical wastes in the same container?
- If the spill is an immediate threat to your (or
---Call 9-911 (286 at the Medical Center)
- If the spill is greater than 30 ml, or you do not
know the hazards of the material, or the spill may impact the
environment by entering a sink, storm drain or the soil, or you
cannot clean up within 15 minutes:
---Call 725-9999 (Day and Night)
- If you know the hazards of the material, less than
30 ml have spilled, and you can clean it up with available equipment:
---Clean it up yourself and manage the material as hazardous waste.
All chemical wastes from laboratories are presumed
to be a regulated Hazardous Waste. However, through testing or other
review Stanford has determined that specific chemical wastes are
not regulated Hazardous Wastes. These materials are listed on the
"Non-Hazardous Waste List" found at:
If your waste is found on the list, you may dispose it as directed.
If your waste is not on the list, but you believe it may be non-hazardous,
please contact EH&S at 725-7529, or firstname.lastname@example.org
for a waste determination.
If your waste is simply an acid or basic waste
containing no other hazardous materials or toxic metals, and the
pH is between 5.5 and 11.0, you may discharge it to the sewer.
Chemical wastes display the same hazards as the chemicals
from which they are generated. Occasionally dilution in the process
may result in minimizing or eliminating the hazard, but a waste
determination is required before you can call your waste non-hazardous.
If you are uncertain of the hazard, it is most likely a "Toxic"
waste due to the very strict California Toxicity criteria.
If you do not have the original product container
for the chemical used to generate the waste, you can obtain containers
from Stores or you can order them from lab safety suppliers. The
container must be compatible with the waste you are putting in it.
Glass is generally preferred except for Hydrofluoric Acid. High
density Polyethylene (HDPE) may be used for wastes except for concentrated
chlorinated solvent wastes.
Hazardous waste must be stored in compatible
primary and secondary containers.
Requirements for primary containers:
Lids must be on at all times (except when adding
waste) and have screw caps or tight lids (no parafilm or foil);
Containers must not leak or be rusty (no beakers, coffee cans
or flasks); and,
Sealed plastic bags are acceptable for solid materials.
Requirements for secondary containers:
Required for all wastes except immobile solids
(e.g., gas cylinders);
For solids: boxes and containers with lids are acceptable;
For liquids: tubs, barrels and trays are acceptable;
For storage of single primary containers, capacity must be 110%
of primary container; and,
For storage of multiple primary containers, capacity must be 150%
of largest container or 10% of volume of all containers combined,
whichever is greater.
While hazardous waste is being accumulated,
the container must have an accurate and complete Hazardous Waste
tag (available from EH&S). Improper or inaccurate tagging could
present a serious risk to personnel handling these wastes. Detailed
instructions for completing Hazardous Waste Tags can be found in
the Hazardous Chemical Waste Management
Reference Guide for Laboratories (HCWG, page 12).
Consult the Empty Container Decision Tree in the Hazardous
Chemical Waste Management Reference Guide for Laboratories (page
11) to determine if your empty container can be safely disposed
of in the regular trash or if it must be managed as hazardous waste.
Unused or unopened reagent chemicals may be candidates
for EH&S' Surplus Chemical Redistribution Program. EH&S
maintains an inventory of surplus chemicals that are available to
the Stanford Research Community, free of charge. The program is
an integral part of the University's waste minimization program.
Researchers are given a direct means of improving the environment
by reducing the volume of chemical materials disposed of as hazardous
Unused or unopened reagent chemicals can be obtained
Chemical Redistribution Program. EH&S maintains an inventory
of surplus chemicals that are available to the Stanford Research
Community, free of charge. The program is an integral part of the
University's waste minimization program. Researchers are given a
direct means of improving the environment by reducing the volume
of chemical materials disposed of as hazardous waste.
Yes. Please contact EH&S at 725-7529 for instructions,
training and recordkeeping requirements.
When you have chemical waste requiring pick up, you
must first complete a Hazardous Waste Label and affix one to each
Next, complete a Chemical Waste Pickup Form
(available online). Once
the required information is completed, the web based form is submitted
to the Hazardous Waste group at EH&S. You will receive electronic
confirmation of your request. The Hazardous Waste Program is committed
to completing pickup of your waste within 10 working days.
EH&S brings your chemical waste back to its central
facility on campus for safe storage and handling until it can be
shipped off site. Depending on the nature and type of your chemical
waste, its final disposition can vary. Some waste streams can be
recycled, some can be used as fuel (a form of recycling), some are
incinerated off-site, and a few must be placed in hazardous waste
landfills. EH&S adheres to strict governmental regulations with
respect to its offsite shipments of hazardous chemical waste.
EH&S does not charge departments and units for
waste pick up in academic and research areas. EH&S does require
an account number and approver prior to picking up waste from non-research
areas (i.e., Athletics, Housing, etc.). Costs will vary depending
on quantities and types of chemical wastes involved.
Due to the costs and liabilities involved in disposing
these wastes, Stanford has established a policy that researchers
may not generate these wastes without approval from the Radiation
Safety Committee. Refer to your Health Physicist for the review
process. If you use short-lived isotopes such as 32P, you may hold
these mixed wastes in your lab until ten ½-lives have passed.
At that point, survey the waste to make sure it has decayed to background,
and manage it as a chemical hazardous waste.
Yes if the wastes are compatible. There are a variety
of ways to determine whether or not two or more waste streams are
compatible. In general if two chemicals or solutions have similar
hazard properties than they are probably compatible. Broad generalizations
about properties can be deceiving though, two compounds can be classified
as 'Corrosive' yet be on opposite ends of the pH scale and highly
incompatible. The first best step in determining whether or not
you can mix two solutions is a Literature search. MSDS's provide
a good source of compatibility information, any Chemical Handbook
should have some of this data as well. Finally it is usually a good
idea to mix the chemicals or solutions on a micro scale before pouring
them together into a larger container. If the material shows any
sign of reaction when a couple of mls are mixed, especially if heat
is developed, choose not to mix them and store in separate containers.
One other word of caution, some compounds are significantly more
expensive to dispose of than others. In particular any type of Mercury
contamination increases the cost of disposal several fold. Contact
the Chemical Waste Program at 650-723-5069
if you have more questions.
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