Chemical Waste Quick Links
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Chemical Waste Removal at Virginia Tech
The Hazardous Waste Disposal Program oversees the collection, handling, and disposal of chemicals and hazardous materials from over 1,300 laboratories located on Virginia Tech's main campus, Virginia Tech's physical plant, and all agricultural research and extension centers. This program ensures compliance with all federal, state, and local regulations which govern the handling, storing, and disposing of hazardous waste. The program also manages the recycling of batteries, mercury, oil, photo fixer and the disposal of light ballasts, and fluorescent tubes.
This program applies to anyone in the university community that uses paints, solvents, cleaning products, acids and bases, nanomaterials, lubricating oils, preservatives, or other chemicals.
To meet various regulatory requirements, Virginia Tech prohibits the disposal of chemicals and chemical waste down the drain. EHS will pick up and dispose of chemicals and chemical waste.
In general, all laboratory waste containers (excluding desk/household receptacles) must be kept closed when not adding or removing waste. All waste containers must be labeled according to the type (biological, chemical, radiological) of waste being collected.
All biohazardous waste, regardless of biosafety classification level, must be decontaminated before disposal. Refer to the individual program areas, biological waste, chemical, radioactive, and regulated medical waste for specific details.
Questions? Contact 540-231-3600.
No, liquids are not to be disposed of in the RMW boxes. These boxes are only for solid waste. Liquids that contain biologicals must be rendered harmless (either through chemical or mechanical means) and can be poured down the sink, as long as there are not other chemical or radioactive materials in them.
Since regulated medical waste must be removed from campus with 7 days of the box being closed, EHS performs pickups typically Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings. If you need a pickup scheduled, please email email@example.com or call 540-231-3600.
Chemicals may be moved within a building by personnel involved in the group. Moving chemicals from building to building must be done by using carts - NOT by vehicle unless approved by Environmental Health & Safety. If Environmental Health & Safety personnel are involved in the move, allow at least 3 weeks for planning.
The Laboratory Relocation Guide has been developed to provide more details. For further information and guidance, please contact 540-231-3600.
Chemical Waste Online Program
Environmental Health & Safety supports waste minimization as the first priority when considering disposing of hazardous materials.
- Order only the quantity of chemicals you expect to need.
- Actively manage chemical inventory to ensure all containers are in good shape, properly labeled, and have not expired.
- Dispose of chemical waste in a timely manner.
- Do not allow full containers of chemical waste to be stored in your area longer than two weeks without sending in a waste pick-up request.
- Prior to leaving the university, ensure all chemical waste has been removed by Environmental Health & Safety personnel.
- If you are moving your laboratory to another location, take the time to reduce the volume of materials to be taken to the new lab space.
- Substitute non-hazardous or less hazardous chemicals and/or modify your process to use smaller quantities of hazardous chemicals whenever possible.
- Utilize good housekeeping practices to minimize the risk of a spill.
- If only a small amount of a particular chemical is needed, consider obtaining the material from another campus lab, the LEPDN group, or through the Environmental Health & Safety Surplus Chemical Program.
- View this helpful guide for minimizing waste in laboratories.
All hazardous waste must be disposed of through EHS according to the following procedures.
Container and storage requirements
- Chemicals must be placed in sealed containers that show no signs of leakage. Bottles with broken caps or stoppers will not be collected. Waste containers will not be returned to the generators unless arrangements have been made with this department prior to the pick-up.
- Containers should be full, but not overflowing. Only fill containers to about 2 - 3 inches below the cap, and for bulk containers supplied by Environmental Health & Safety, use the markings as guidelines for filling.
- The maximum container size is:
- Liquids = 5 gallons, Solids = 50 pounds
Unknown Waste: Liquids = 1 gallon, Solids = 8 pounds.
- Liquids = 5 gallons, Solids = 50 pounds
- Waste must be stored according to chemical compatibility in proper storage cabinets.
- All chemical waste pickup requests must be submitted through the online pickup request system.
- Chlorinated solvents must be in glass containers.
- Peroxide forming compounds (e.g.; diethyl ether, 1,4-dioxane, tetrahydrofuran) must have a date of receipt and opening written on the container. The maximum storage period must not have expired. This is generally six months.
- Unknown waste are handled on a case by case basis. Avoid generating Unknowns by keeping good records of the waste you produce.
- Explosive waste is handled on a case by case basis. Avoid generating this waste by diligently observing the expiration dates on chemical labels.
- Biological waste is handled by the Occupational Health and Industrial Hygiene team. Please call 540-231-3220 to schedule a pick up.
- Asbestos waste and abatement is managed by the Laboratory Safety team at 540-231-2982.
- Radioactive waste is also handled by the Lab Safety team at 540-231-2982.
- Contained gas (cylinders, lecture bottles, etc.) can not be picked up, arrangements should be made with the supplier for the removal of the containers at the time of purchase.