University Business May 2017 - 40

HAZMATS AMONG US
Many higher ed institutions rely on
multiple disposal companies to pick up
hazardous materials, with different companies specializing in particular types of
substances.
4. How can schools maintain safety
while keeping handling and disposal
costs down?
A challenge for smaller schools with a variety of smaller-volume hazardous chemicals
is the cost of disposal. Auburn's budget for
chemical waste disposal is around $60,000
per year for the removal of 60,000 pounds,
approximately $1 per pound, says Nelson, adding that smaller colleges will typically pay much more to remove smaller
amounts.
Establishing an annual contract for
waste disposal can control costs. Auburn

has hazardous waste picked up every 90
days. That includes drums of waste, and
chemical disposal lab packs containing
much smaller containers. Drums of waste
solvent or mixed acids typically cost 25 to
75 cents per pound to dispose of, and lab
packs cost $1.25 per pound.
For that reason, there's an incentive to
combine materials into as few drums as
possible. Auburn consolidates waste solvents with nonreactive complementary
chemicals to reduce the number of lab
packs it has to ship out.
The cost of hazardous materials can
also be driven up by unknown chemicals,
which may be found in unlabeled containers days or weeks after a researcher
leaves a university. A disposal company
must often be hired to identify the substance-which can be expensive. Addi-

tional savings are lost if the material, had
it been identified, could have been used
in other labs.
Institutions should establish lab closeout procedures that require the researcher
to identify all materials and mark them
for disposal or redistribution to other
labs, says Nelson.
Because disposing of chemicals is often
more expensive than purchasing them, he
adds, researchers should be encouraged to
order only what they need for the year.
Colleges and universities that carefully
follow hazmat regulations reduce the risk
of an incident, minimize fines, control
costs and improve the overall functioning
of its campus departments.
Marcia Layton Turner is a Rochester, New
York-based writer.

Visible-and hidden-hazmat areas across campus
Facilities maintenance
cleaning agents, gasoline, oil
Business offices
DustOff used to
clean computers
Research and
chemistry labs
chemical compounds

Custodian closets
cleaning agents

Art classrooms
paints and
cleaning agents

Swimming pools
water treatment chemicals

Cafeterias
bleach, cleaning agents,
grease and oil

GETTYIMAGES.COM: MATHISWORKS

IT department
DustOff used to
clean computers
Athletic offices and fields
Toxic lime used to line
the fields

Dorm rooms
DustOff used to
clean computers
Anywhere vehicles
are stored
gases and oils

40 | May 2017

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