4.1  Introduction

4.2  Liquid Chemical Waste Streams

4.3  Chemical That Require Special Handling

4.4  Outdated or "Inherently Waste-Like" Chemicals

4.5  Mercury

4.5.1  Hazardous Chemical Spill

4.6  Chemicals and the Sanitary Sewer

4.7  Select Agent Toxins

4.8  Pressurized Cylinders

4.9  Anesthetic Gas

4.10  Universal Waste

4.11  Other Facility Waste

4.12  Procedure for Chemical Pick-Ups

4.13  Laboratory Clean Out

4.1       Introduction

It is important to provide accurate information when submitting on-line request for chemical wastes.  The following section gives an overview on how to segregate and manage chemical waste streams.


4.2       Liquid Chemical Waste Streams

When collecting liquid hazardous chemical streams for disposal, make sure that any chemicals to be mixed are compatible.

The chemicals are segregated into separate containers for the following categories:

·        Halogenated solvents

·         Non- halogenated solvents

·         Aqueous acid solutions

·         Aqueous basic solutions

·         A record is kept of the volume and contents of each addition to the container.

·         The complete mixture including water is accounted for in solution.

·         When the container is to be disposed of, the volume and concentrations of each chemical are totaled.

·         Submit an Online Chemical Pickup Request Form:

·         An example of the online Chemical Transfer Form is in Appendix A of this chapter.


4.3       Chemical That Require Special Handling

Chemical that require special handling include peroxide forming compounds, shock sensitive compounds, reactive materials, and strong oxidizing/reducing agents.   

Peroxide forming compounds are sensitive to light and heat, this class of compounds reacts with air and light to form unstable peroxides.  Once opened, stocks of these peroxide forming compounds should be used within the specified time frame.  It is essential to indicate the date at the time of opening and dispose of within an acceptable period of time.  These compounds can be tested for the presence of peroxides easily with inexpensive test strips.  Table 2 lists shock -sensitive compounds from Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Disposal of Chemicals by the National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C. 1995. 

Reactive and strong oxidizing/reducing agents may cause severe reactions when mixed or stored with incompatible materials.  These compounds must be handled carefully.  Examples of reactive materials include anhydrous aluminum chloride, cyanide compounds, and metal hydrides.  Strong oxidizing compounds include perchloric acid, metallic chlorates and nitrates.  Strong reducing agents include metallic sulfides and sodium hydride.


Table 2 – Shock-Sensitive Compounds 


Classes of Chemicals That Can Form Peroxides Upon Aging


Class I:  Unsaturated materials, especially those of low molecular weight, may polymerize violently and hazardously due to peroxide initiation.


Acrylic acid     

Tetrafluoroethylene *


Vinyl acetate

Butadiene *      

Vinyl acetylene

Chlorobutadiene (chloroprene) *

Vinyl chloride


Vinyl pyridine

Methyl methacrylate

Vinylidene chloride




Discard at 12 Months 


Class II:  The following chemicals are a peroxide hazard upon concentration (distillation/evaporation).  A test for peroxide should be performed if concentration is intended or suspected.



Dioxane (p-dioxane)


Ethylene glycol dimethyl ether (glyme)




Methyl acetylene


Methyl cyclopentane


Methyl-i-butyl ketone



Diethylene glycol dimethyl ether


Diethyl ether    

Vinyl ethers


Discard at 12 Months 


Class III:  Peroxides derived from the following compounds may explode without concentration.




Divinyl ether                                 

Potassium metal

Divinyl acetylene          

Potassium amide

Isopropyl ether             

Sodium amide (sodamide)

Vinylidene chloride



Discard at 3 Months


 * When stored as a liquid, the peroxide-forming potential increases and the chemical should then be considered a Class III.


4.4       Outdated or "Inherently Waste-Like"Chemicals

Chemical containers with obvious signs of degradation such as split caps, accumulation of deposits on the inside or outside of bottles or on shelf surfaces in the storage area; formation of two phases or change in physical state or formation of crystalline structures within liquids, are considered by the U.S. EPA as being “inherently waste-like”, and should be addressed immediately by discarding the chemical.  Some changes are subtle, and not readily noticeable. Become familiar with the chemical and its physical and chemical hazards before using or storing it, and examine your stock occasionally.  Chemicals with no labels, abbreviations that are not commonly recognized are unacceptable and should be addressed immediately.

4.5       Mercury

Metallic mercury may be found in manometers, thermometers, switches, thermostats, and pressure equipment.  Liquid mercury is considered to be hazardous, and cannot be discarded in regular trash. When equipment containing mercury is broken, place contaminated items in a plastic bag and schedule a chemical pick-up online.  If mercury is spilled, contact EHS at 772-21781 for spill cleanup.   

4.5.1       Hazardous Chemical Spill

The specific procedures for cleaning up chemical spills are explained in Chapter 8 Chemical Safety. The yellow card attached to all UTMB badges also contains the emergency guidelines to follow in case of a hazardous chemical spill.

4.6       Chemicals and the Sanitary Sewer

Campus interior drains are connected to the sanitary sewer system, and their effluent drains to the City of Galveston Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plant.  Generally disposal of chemicals down the drain is prohibited by Federal, State, and local laws and regulations.  The range of substances that can be considered hazardous waste is enormous, if you are unsure how to manage a chemical contact EHS at ext. 70515.   

There are some chemicals that are water-soluble, moderate pH, of low toxicity, and may be safely discarded in the sanitary sewer. Materials appropriate for sewer disposal in limited quantities have to be easily biodegradable or amenable to treatment by the waste water treatment process.  Sanitary sewer disposal activities must have prior approval from EHS in the form of documentation otherwise the action of “drain disposal of chemical waste” is considered illegal.   

Materials appropriate for sewer disposal in limited quantities must meet the following criteria:

·         Simple salt solutions of low toxicity inorganic substances with a pH range between 6 to 9,

·         Non pathological biological compounds and cellular constituents such as proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, sugars, amino acids, surfactants and many metabolic intermediates, and

·         Other compounds include soluble salt combinations of low toxicity and dilute (less than 10%) aqueous solutions of low molecular weight biodegradable organic chemicals such as alcohols, aldehydes, and carboxylic acids.

Do not put the following hazardous materials down a drain: 

·         Solutions of pH less than 5.0 or greater than 9.5.

·         Solutions containing heavy metals [e.g., lead, mercury, etc.].

·         Flammable liquids, halogenated solutions.

·         Aqueous solutions containing 24 percent or more alcohol and having a flash point of less than 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit).

·         Anything not miscible with water.

·         Pathogenic tissue specimens (deactivation procedures are listed in Biological Safety section of the Safety Manual), contact EHS prior to disposal to find out if the material is suitable for drain disposal).

·         When in doubt, call Environmental Protection Management at extension 70515.


4.7       Select Agent Toxins

Use of select agent toxins require special procedures developed as part of the laboratory high risk plans which are approved through the Chemical Safety Committee.  There is more information available in the Chemical Safety Chapter 8.


4.8       Pressurized Cylinders

Aerosol containers may be disposed of in regular trash but not allowed as medical waste.  Submit Online Chemical Pickup Request disposal of ethylene oxide cartridges; thin walled cartridges, lecture bottles, and disposable propane cylinders.


4.9       Anesthetic Gas

    Commonly used anesthetic gases:

Halogenated solvent

·         Isoflurane (most frequently used anesthetic) – Nonflammable liquid at room temperature; when vaporized is 5 to 7 times heavier than air and easily distinguished by its pungent odor.

·         Halothane – No longer being manufactured in the U.S.

·         Desflurane

·         Sevoflurane

·         Enflurane

Non-halogenated solvent

·         Nitrous oxide – Nonflammable gas at room temperature; colorless, sweet tasting, and heavier than air.

·         Ether – Colorless and highly flammable liquid with a low boiling point and a characteristic odor. Use of ether as an anesthetic is not approved on campus.


Disposal Method:


Saturated canisters (i.e., F/Air, Sodalime or other carbon filters) used in anesthetic gas scavenging systems and charcoal filters placed in laboratory vacuum lines are considered hazardous chemical waste. 

·         Place saturated canister into a clear plastic bag with a label “anesthetic gas filter” “hazardous waste”.

·         Go online to schedule a chemical pick-up:

·         Because of the volatility of liquid anesthetics, rapid removal by suctioning is the preferred method for cleaning up spills.  If absorbed, the waste material should be placed in a clear plastic bag and sealed, properly labeled, and disposed of with other chemical wastes through EPM.

·         Empty anesthetic bottles are not considered regulated waste and may be discarded with ordinary trash.  Empty chemical container labels should be obliterated.   

·         If you have questions concerning types of chemical waste, please contact EPM at extension 70515.

4.10      Universal Waste

Universal wastes are certain hazardous wastes that are so common that the possession is widespread. It is extremely difficult to regulate them as hazardous waste. These substances have a separate set of rules to follow, but are much less complicated. The regulation for universal waste can be found in 40 CFR 273. The following listed substances are considered to be universal waste.

·         Batteries

·         Pesticides

·         Paint and paint related waste

·         Mercury-containing equipment

·         Mercury-containing Fluorescent Lamps

It is very important to remember that universal waste is still harmful to the environment. Care must be taken to dispose of them properly. They cannot be thrown away in the trash dumpster.


4.11       Other Facility Waste

Used Oil

Used oil and filters are collected in the universal waste areas; however they are not considered a universal waste.  Oil spill prevention regulations are part of the Clean Water Act and require UTMB to have a plan in place identifying responsibilities and control measures to minimize the possibility of spills or releases to Galveston Bay.

Used oil containers that are 42 gallons or greater require secondary containment for storage. 


   Electronic Wastes

Electronic devices such as computers, cell phones, fax machines, wireless devices, and other electronics contain heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and cadmium.  These items should be handled in an environmentally responsible manner.  

UTMB has an asset-management program in place for capital electronic items.  The information below is provided for how electronic wastes are managed.

1.       Any item with a UTMB identification tag must be returned to Inventory through   Material Management Warehouse – Useable computers are donated to other state entities

2.       Broken computers and other electrical equipment are collected by Materials Management Warehouse staff for recycling

3.       If your Area generates e-waste and is not managed in the above processes, please collect for recycle through EHS

4.       Schedule e-waste pick up requests on-line at:, click on the Chemical Waste Pick-up Request and follow the prompts for information needed on the form.


4.12       Procedure for Chemical Pick-Ups

Chemical pick-up arrangements are made on-line:

Once you complete the required information, this web based form will be submitted to the Environmental Protection Management program and the request will be processed into the next pick-up day.  Chemical pick-up days are Wednesday and Friday of each week. Radioactive pick-up days are Tuesday and Thursday. Once submitted, you will receive electronic confirmation of your request. You must have a Radioactive form filled out for each item to be picked up (e.g. one form for <300 day dry solids; on form for stock vials; you may have up to eight stock vials on one form) and signed with an authorized signature for a Radioactive pick up.


Online Waste Pick-up Request Instructions


Complete the required contact information (name, room number, phone number, and building name)


Comments section may be used for special request (i.e., return safety can) Chemical pick-ups of <20 items should be entered as a Lab clean out request.


At least one item must be listed using TAB key to move between fields. List the chemical identity of the material.  No abbreviations or trademark names unless the MSDS is provided.


For chemical mixtures in one container: 

     -  List all chemicals in the mixture by percent

     -  List the solvent if a solution including water

     -  List the total quantity of the mixture


Each chemical container must be labeled to identify the contents


All chemicals must be in a tight, sealed container, no glass stopper or bottles, etc.


A radioactive form must be filled out for each box to be picked up and be signed by an authorized person.

The person completing the pick-up request is legally responsible for the accuracy of the information provided.


4.13       Laboratory Clean Out

A laboratory clean out can occur when relocating a laboratory, closing a laboratory permanently or simply down sizing the chemical inventory.  Contact EHS prior to clean out begins for assistance in the process.  A two-week or more notice, if possible, would be appreciated.  Specific instructions for relocation and closure of laboratories can be found in the Chemical Safety Chapter 8 and the Biological Safety Chapter 9 of this manual. 


            Off Site Clinics:            

            EHS is responsible for providing assistance to off site clinics personnel with disposal arrangements for hazardous chemicals.  The Clinics will be responsible for ensuring hazardous materials are stored appropriately, coordinating disposal arrangements through EHS, and assuming the disposal costs.