Staff at the Village of Alfred Waste Water Treatment Plant, the Treatment Plant’s engineering firm, and the Village of Alfred Sewer Ordinance were consulted in developing these guidelines to assure that local government regulations are followed.
Within individual laboratories, authorization for specific operations, delineation of appropriate safety procedures and instruction about these procedures is a responsibility of the principal investigator.
It is the responsibility of Alfred University laboratory workers to be sure that chemical waste generated from their activities is disposed of properly. Some materials can be safely let into the sanitary sewer and others can cause damage to health, the environment or the functioning of the wastewater plant.
Laboratory workers should consult this guide before undertaking drain disposal of any lab chemicals.
Send down the drain only those materials found on the safe list. Compounds not listed are not suitable for drain disposal.
Drain disposal must only be used when the drain flows to the sanitary sewer* system, which eventually goes to the wastewater treatment plant. Storm drain systems flow directly into surface water and should NEVER be used for chemical disposal. Floor drains may flow to storm sewers and should NEVER be used for disposal. Laboratory sinks should be used for disposal of chemicals on the safe list as discussed below.
Quantities of chemical waste for drain disposal should be limited generally to a few hundred grams or milliliters or less per day. Larger amounts should have prior approval. Only materials listed as safe for drain disposal in this document are approved for drain disposal in quantities up to 100 grams or 100 milliliter per discharge. Disposal should be followed by flushing with at least 100-fold excess of water at the sink. (That means for 100 ml of chemical run the water for about two minutes at maximum flow.)
Note: Sulfuric, hydrochloric, acetic and phosphoric acids may be discharged in larger quantities after they have been neutralized. They must be neutralized to a pH of between 5.0 and 9.0 before they can be drain disposed to the sanitary sewer.
*Sanitary sewer is the system of sinks, toilets, drains and associated pipes that send wastewater to a treatment plant where it is biologically and chemically treated before discharge into the environment.
Understand the hazards and toxicity of the materials you work with by consulting material safety data sheets. Work slowly to avoid splashes and wear the proper protective equipment (lab coat, goggles or face shield, gloves) during drain disposal.
The following materials are prohibited from drain disposal:
Check with Environmental Health and Safety at x 2190 if you are not certain about drain disposal for a particular material.
Dilute solutions of inorganic salts where both cation and anion are listed below are suitable for drain disposal. Materials listed are considered to be relatively low in toxicity.
Compounds of any of these ions that are strongly acidic or basic must be neutralized to a pH range of 5.0 to 9.0 before drain disposal. See Appendix A.
Materials listed below in quantities up to about 100g or 100 ml at a time are suitable for disposal down the drain while flushing with excess water. These materials are soluble to at least 3 percent, present low toxicity hazards and are readily biodegradable.
Alcohols (at less than 24% concentration)
Alkanols with 4 or fewer carbon atoms:
Alkanediols with 7 or fewer carbon atoms
Alkoxyalkanols with 6 or fewer carbon atoms:
pH must be between 5.0-9.0
Radioactive materials may not be drain disposed with the following exceptions:
Federal, state and local regulations allow for elementary neutralization (pH adjustment) of hazardous wastes without a permit provided:
Therefore, the decision for neutralization must be made on a case-by-case basis:
See Alfred University Elemental Neutralization Waste Log Form for recording neutralized acids and bases; submit forms to EH&S at time of hazardous waste disposals (twice annually).
Oil should be collected and stored temporarily within your department in properly labeled DOT approved containers. The Containers must be stored inside the building. The containers must be clearly marked "Waste Oil Only: No Solvents."
When the oil containers are full please contact EH&S x 2190 to obtain information on the disposal of oils
National Research Council, Prudent Practices in the Laboratory, Handling and Disposal of Chemicals, National Academy Press, 1995
American Chemical Society, Safety in Academic Chemistry Laboratories, 1995
Safety Manuals from Cornell University and the Universities of Wisconsin and Cincinnati
Village of Alfred Sewer Ordinance