Protect our water quality: It's everyone's job

Drains to Creek sign
Everyone on the Boulder campus is responsible for following CU-Boulder’s policies and procedures for the proper management of hazardous materials and waste according to regulatory mandates from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment (CDPHE) and the city of Boulder Public Works and Utilities Department. 
 
These agencies have authorized CU’s Department of Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) to manage our campus hazardous materials and waste programs. The University of Colorado at Boulder has been issued permits under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and the Clean Water Act to mandate compliance.
 
It is everybody’s responsibility to ensure that chemical waste will be managed properly, minimized and recycled whenever possible, and never poured down drains (protecting our water quality and city waste water plant treatment systems) or placed in the trash. Such actions are environmentally unsound, prohibited by law, and subject to fines and criminal actions. Signs identifying proper disposal of chemicals are posted near sinks in all university laboratories that contain chemicals. Storm drains inside and outside of campus buildings have also been stenciled to warn people about discharging any pollutants that could harm our sensitive aquatic ecosystem.
 
All generators of hazardous waste must receive formal documented training. Laboratory personnel must also control their chemical inventories to make sure that outdated, expired materials are disposed of through UC-Boulder’s EH&S hazardous waste program. Do not open old, expired chemical bottles, especially those containing ethers, peroxides, Grignard reagents, or other potentially reactive compounds. Hazardous chemicals near sinks and floor drains must be kept in secondary containment to prevent unwanted releases to the environment. A variety of chemically-resistant tubs and trays, as well as 5 gallon plastic carboys, for collection of hazardous waste can be purchased from the Cristol Chemistry stockroom (Chemstores). Call EH&S at 303-492-6025 or email ehs@colorado.edu for information and advice.
 
If an accident involving hazardous materials occurs, which you know posses no immediate health concern or danger of personal injury, try to keep the contaminant from spreading into the environment or entering drains by containing it with absorbent material. If the potential for personal danger does exist, evacuate others from the dangerous area and leave immediately. Notify the CU police department by calling 911 from a safe location, and remain available to emergency personnel once they arrive. Under no circumstances should any person re-enter the area where a hazardous spill has occurred, as long as the possibility of personal danger exists. All hazardous material incidents, including releases to the environment or sewer system, must be reported immediately to the Department of Environmental Health and Safety at 303-492-6025. For after-hours emergencies and notifications, call 911.

Website: http://www.colorado.edu/ehs/

Contact: Sherril Potter

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