A regulated chemical waste is defined as a waste which, due to its quantity, concentration, or physical and chemical characteristics may
The disposal of regulated waste and other unwanted chemicals has become increasingly complicated. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) regulate the treatment and disposal of chemical wastes in Texas. The purpose of this section is to help you better understand exactly what is and is not a regulated chemical waste. In doing so, we hope that you may be able to design experiments with waste minimization in mind, and dispose of chemical waste generated in your laboratory in a manner consistent with legal requirements.
In the Code of Federal Regulations (40 CFR 261.20 - 261.24), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) defines the four fundamental characteristics of regulated waste as:
Ignitable materials include most common organic solvents, gases such as hydrogen and hydrocarbons, and certain nitrate salts.
Most common laboratory acids and bases are corrosive, as well as some amines and solutions of certain metal salts (e.g., a 0.1M aqueous solution of ferric chloride has a pH of 2.0).
Alkali metals, peroxides, and cyanide and sulfide compounds are classified as reactives.
|Heptachlor (and its epoxide)||Hexachlorobenzene|
|Methyl ethyl ketone||Nitrobenzene|
|Tetrachloroethylene||Toxaphene (chlorinated camphene)|
|2,4,6-Trichlorophenol||2-(2,4,5-Trichlorophenoxy)propionic acid (Silvex)|
In addition to defining the characteristics of regulated waste, RCRA also defines (or lists) certain specific waste materials as being regulated. These materials are listed in 40 CFR sections 261.31 (the F List), 261.32 (the K list), and 261.33 (the P and U Lists).
|carbon tetrachloride||chlorinated fluorocarbons|
|ethyl acetate||ethyl benzene|
|ethyl ether||methyl isobutyl ketone|
|cresols||cresylic acid nitrobenzene|
|toluene||methyl ethyl ketone|
Class I wastes are wastes which are regulated by the (TCEQ). They are not considered hazardous by the EPA definition, but must be disposed of at a permitted landfill due to Texas regulations. Examples of wastes which fall under the Class I definition are soils contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons, sandblasting sand with leachable lead concentrations between 1.5 and 5.0 ppm, used oil, and solids that when mixed with an equal weight of water form a corrosive solution.
The Universal Waste regulations are designed to simplify the requirements for some wastes generated by commercial, agricultural, and community activities that are otherwise subject to full RCRA Subtitle C requirements. The universal waste management program is designed to encourage proper treatment and recycling of specific waste, and is subject to different management requirements. Items allowed to be managed as Universal Waste include:
• Batteries (e.g. nickel cadmium, nickel metal hydride, lithium, lithium polymer, etc.)
• Some recalled pesticides
• Mercury lamps (e.g. fluorescent lamps, projector lamps, etc.)
• Mercury-containing equipment (including thermometers, thermostats, manometers, barometers)
• Paint and paint related waste (e.g. oil based paints, flammable solvent thinning agents, and solvent saturated material waste generated from painting activities)
If you generate any of these items, please Contact the Department of Environmental Health and Safety, or the Hazardous Materials Specialist (ext. 7629) for more information.
► It is important to note that Universal Waste is still Hazardous Waste.
Biological (or special) waste has been identified by the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) as waste which requires special handling to protect human health or the environment. It is further defined as a solid waste which if improperly treated or handled may serve to transmit an infectious disease(s). Biological waste is regulated by the (TCEQ) and the (TDSHS). This waste is comprised of the following:
Microbiological waste includes:
Note: In vitro tissue cultures that have not been intentionally exposed to pathogens are exempt from these regulations.
Animal waste includes:
Human blood and blood products include:
Pathological waste includes but is not limited to:
Sharps include but are not limited to the following, regardless of contamination:
Sharps include but are not limited to the following, when contaminated:
Contaminated is defined as the presence or the reasonably anticipated presence of blood, body fluids, or other infectious materials.
Radioactive waste generated by laboratories is usually limited to low-level radioactive waste from the use of by-product material and naturally occurring or accelerator-produced radioactive material (NARM). By-product material, as defined by the TDSHS, is reactor-produced radioactive material and includes most purchased radiolabelled chemicals; NARM includes uranium and thorium salts. The use and disposal of by-product material in the State of Texas are regulated by the TDSHS and the TCEQ and usually require a license. Common waste management methods for low-level radioactive waste from laboratories include storage for decay and indefinite on-site storage, burial at a low-level radioactive waste site, incineration, and sanitary sewer disposal. For further information regarding Baylor University's radiation safety and radioactive waste program, please refer to The Manual of Radiation Safety.
Multihazardous waste is waste that contains any combination of chemical, radioactive, or biological hazards. Although many of the principles discussed for chemically hazardous waste earlier in this chapter also apply here, multihazardous waste requires special management considerations because the treatment method for one of the hazards may be inappropriate for the treatment of another.
Chemical-Radioactive (mixed) waste is defined by the Environmental Protection Agency as "wastes that contain a chemically hazardous waste component regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and a radioactive component consisting of source, special nuclear, or byproduct material regulated under the Atomic Energy Act." Examples of laboratory mixed wastes include:
Mixed waste produced at universities and medical research laboratories are typically a mixture of a low-level radioactive waste and chemically hazardous waste. Disposal options for mixed waste are usually very expensive. For many types of mixed waste, there are no management options other than indefinite storage on site.