In accordance with St. John’s University’s Waste Management Plan, any chemical substance or mixture of chemical substances that you have decided to discard (and can not be used or reused by another party) is known as a chemical waste. This can include chemicals that are intended to be disposed of, and chemicals that are being stored but are no longer used or needed. Chemical wastes can be in liquid, solid or gaseous form.
All chemical wastes generated at the University must be evaluated to determine if they would be considered to be “hazardous waste” or “non-hazardous waste”. Hazardous wastes are a group of wastes classified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) as requiring special handling and disposal due to their potential to harm human health and the environment. Review the classification section to determine if your chemical waste is a hazardous waste.
All chemical wastes that are not classified as Hazardous Waste are considered to be Non-Hazardous Wastes. These wastes are not subject to the strict handling, storage or disposal requirements of Hazardous Waste. However, in order to protect human health and the environment, Non-Hazardous Wastes must meet minimum best management practices for storage and disposal. These best management practices are discussed in the Non-Hazardous Waste Storage and Non Hazardous Waste Disposal sections.Examples of Non-Hazardous Waste found at St. John’s University include:
*Only latex-based paints that are dry can be considered as non-hazardous waste. If the residual paint material in a can has solidified, the can may be put into the regular trash, providing that the lid to the can has been removed. Otherwise, the residual waste should go through the hazardous waste classification process.
There are two ways that a chemical waste may be a hazardous waste. The first is if the waste exhibits certain characteristics based either on your knowledge of the waste or by testing the waste. These are known as Characteristic Hazardous Wastes. The second is if the USEPA specifically lists the waste as a hazardous waste. These are known as Listed Hazardous Wastes.
Based on these criteria, it is critical that you understand how your chemical waste was generated and what the components of the waste are. This information is used by the EH&S Department to complete the “Chemical Waste Disposal Log.”
Characteristic hazardous wastes are divided into the following categories:
Ignitable hazardous waste
Corrosive hazardous waste
Reactive hazardous waste
Ignitable hazardous wastes are wastes that readily catch fire and can sustain combustion. Wastes are ignitable, as defined by USEPA, if they are liquids and have a flash point of less than 60oC (140oF). Other ignitable wastes include oxidizers such as chlorates, permanganates, inorganic peroxides, or nitrates/nitrites that liberate oxygen readily to promote the combustion of organic matter. Also ignitable are flammable compressed gases, and wastes that are not liquid at 20oC (68oF) that are spontaneously combustible. Wastes exhibiting the characteristic of ignitability are assigned the waste code D001.
Examples of Ignitable Hazardous Waste found at St. John’s University include:
NOTE: Some examples may fit into more than one waste category.
Corrosive hazardous wastes are either acidic or alkaline (basic) wastes that can readily corrode or dissolve metal, skin or other materials. USEPA classifies a waste as corrosive if it is aqueous and it has a pH of 2.0 or less, or a pH that’s 12.5 or greater. Wastes exhibiting the characteristic of corrosivity are assigned the waste code D002.
Examples of Corrosive Hazardous Waste found at St. John’s University include:
A reactive hazardous waste, as defined by USEPA, is one that readily explodes or undergoes violent reactions. Wastes that react violently with water, such as pure sodium metal or wastes that form potentially explosive mixtures with water are considered reactive. In addition wastes that contain cyanides or sulfides that can release toxic gases when exposed to acid or basic conditions are also considered reactive. Wastes exhibiting the characteristic of reactivity are assigned the waste code D003.
Examples of Reactive Hazardous Waste found at St. John’s University include:
Toxicity characteristic wastes are determined by use of a standardized test method. This method, known as the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP), is designed to simulate the leaching of toxic landfill wastes into groundwater. USEPA considers wastes to have the characteristic of toxicity if they have the potential of leaching any of 39 constituents in levels at or above specific TCLP threshold levels. Wastes displaying the characteristic of toxicity can carry any of the waste codes D004 to D043. The codes include 8 heavy metals, 4 insecticides, 2 herbicides, and 25 other organic compounds (see Appendix B for a list of toxicity characteristic (TC) wastes, and their threshold levels.)
Examples of Toxicity Characteristic Hazardous Waste found at St. John’s University include:
A chemical waste is a Listed Hazardous Waste if it is specifically identified on any one of four USEPA lists contained in the regulations. The four lists are:
The non-specific source waste list (which contains many organic solvent-type chemicals) contains wastestreams from common industrial and manufacturing processes. Many spent solvents generated in both instructional and research laboratories at St. John’s University may be found here. These wastes are typically identified by the waste codes F001 through F005. (Note that there is other F-waste listed waste codes, but the University does not typically generate these.)
The specific source waste list contains wastes generated by specific industries (i.e., petroleum refining, pesticide manufacturing). These waste codes are not typically generated at the University, unless a research laboratory is working with chemical wastes generated by such industries.
The P waste list designates as hazardous pure or commercial grade formulations of certain unused chemicals. These include chemicals whose shelf lives have expired, chemicals that are no longer needed, or spill cleanup residues of these chemicals.
Similar to P listed wastes, the U waste list designates as hazardous pure or commercial grade formulations of certain unused chemicals. These include chemicals whose shelf lives have expired, chemicals that are no longer needed, or spill cleanup residues of these chemicals.
Examples of Listed Hazardous Waste found at St. John’s University include:
Listed F, P and U wastes may be found in Appendix C of this Waste Management Plan.
USEPA and NYSDEC require that all containers that once held an acute hazardous waste (see the P listed wastes in Appendix C for the list of acute hazardous wastes) are considered empty and may be disposed of as regular trash if the container or inner liner has been triple rinsed using a solvent capable of removing the chemical waste from the container.
In order to ensure protection of human health and the environment, it is the University’s policy that all containers that once held chemicals or chemical waste be triple rinsed before they can be disposed of as regular trash. This policy applies to all chemicals, regardless of chemical type or quantity.
The rinseate generated from triple rinsing the containers must be containerized and managed as chemical waste. The steps outlined in classification and storage and handling should then be followed in order to determine the proper method for classifying, storing and disposing of the rinseate as a chemical waste.
Each laboratory that accumulates hazardous waste for disposal must designate an area within the laboratory as the “laboratory satellite accumulation area.” Federal and state regulations require that each satellite accumulation area be under the control of one individual. The responsible party for each satellite area is the Principal Investigator of the laboratory.
Satellite accumulation is intended for the collection of bulk containers of chemicals generated in the lab. For example, solvent wastes may be accumulated in a container made of materials that are compatible with the solvents. Note
Small bottles of out-dated chemicals intended for disposal should not be stored in Satellite Accumulation Areas, but should be brought to the central storage area as soon as they become wastes. For example, at the Jamaica campus, the central storage area is located in St. Albert’s Hall, Room SB17A.] Please review procedures for moving hazardous waste to the central storage area.