Chemical Waste

Laboratories and other areas on campus that use chemicals generate chemical wastes as a result. Federal and State regulations have very strict rules regarding how chemical wastes must be classified, accumulated, and disposed of. The penalties for non-compliance are severe and the environmental consequences of improper chemical waste management are significant.

Use your laboratory manual, your lab safety training, and the following guidance to help you make the right decisions regarding your chemical wastes. Do not hesitate to contact Environmental Health and Safety if you have any questions.

Chemical Waste Minimization

To promote a safe, healthy workplace and the protection of our environment chemical users must make every effort to reduce the volume and toxicity of the chemical wastes they generate. Guidelines on chemical waste minimization are available here.

Management Guide

Use the Chemical Waste Management Guide to help with the identification, collection and disposal of hazardous chemical wastes. Never assume that a chemical is safe for sink or trash disposal without first investigating its hazards, characteristics and regulatory status. The Environmental Health and Safety Department is here to make this process as simple as possible. Call us with any questions you might have or if you need supplies or assistance.

Waste Pickup

The final step in the management of laboratory hazardous chemical wastes is getting full containers removed from the laboratory. Environmental Health and Safety contracts with a hazardous waste vendor to provide this service.

The day your waste container becomes full, you should write the date on the container’s hazardous waste label, and submit an online pickup request form in BioRAFT. Your request will automatically be processed, and your waste picked up from your lab. Please be sure to fill out all fields on the pickup request form.

Remember that there is a three-day deadline from the date the container becomes full (the date on the label) until it is removed from the lab, so do not delay in submitting your request.

SAA Signs

Signage: each area must have a sign designating it as the Satellite Accumulation Area. Download a Satellite Accumulation Area sign

Note that relative to satellite accumulation areas (SAAs) within chemical fume hoods – Boston Fire Department (BFD) and NFPA 45 position is that while the laboratory is operating and throughout the day, chemical waste containers can be kept within the fume hood and considered “in-use”.  However, at the end of each day/when the laboratory is not operating, all chemical containers must be removed from the fume hood (as they are then considered “storage”, and relocated to an appropriate (signed etc.) storage location.  For flammable/combustible waste containers, they would be required to be relocated to a flammable storage cabinet.  However, if a safety can is used, placement within a flammable storage cabinet is not necessitated as the safety can itself is considered approved storage.

Quick References