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Haz Mat FAQ

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How do I sign up for hazardous waste training?

Ed Polluconi and Chris Quattrociocchi, Hazardous Materials Specialists, at the loading dock of the Porter building.

Annual training is required by Federal, State, and Local regulations, and University Policy. Hazardous waste generators should contact their Haz Waste Proctor or EH&S for training. EH&S presents monthly classroom training sessions that are open to new generators. To view upcoming monthly classroom sessions or to take the annual refresher training online please visit the Hazardous Materials Training Section.

How do I schedule a Hazardous Material/Waste pickup?

Chris examines a Haz Waste tag for completeness and accuracy.

Waste streams that include any kind of radioactive materials must be kept separate wherever possible. For any material that is or may be radioactive, please STOP and contact Health Physics/Radiation Safety (303-492-6523 or for disposal procedures.

To dispose of your hazardous material/waste, you must complete the Hazardous Material/Waste (HMW) Tag as described in the Hazardous Waste Generators' Guide and send EH&S the top white copy ONLY (413 UCB). The card stock and secondary copy must remain with the material/waste, attached to the waste item with the provided wire.

What is the HMW Tag?

A hazardous waste tag

The Hazardous Material/Waste (HMW) Tag simplifies procedures, minimizes paperwork and expedites pickups. Each HMW tag has a unique identifying number that allows the University to track the waste from cradle to grave. All generators must complete HMW tags to have their material/waste removed. Tags must be firmly attached to each container using wire provided, and the completed top copy sent to EH&S, 413 UCB. Caution must be taken to avoid contaminating the tag. Incomplete, illegible or contaminated tags will delay container removal.

How can I get HMW Tags?

Tags are available through the Campus Mail (by calling EH&S at 492-6025), by coming to our offices, EHSC, 1000 Regent Drive, 413 UCB or through the Chemistry, JSCBB, and MCDB stockrooms. For more information on how to complete the HMW tag please visit the Hazardous Waste Generators' Guide.

How long will it take before you pickup my waste?

After the top copy of the tag is received by EH&S, it generally takes less than 10 business days for materials/wastes to be removed (15 business days for East Campus). If items are still around after this timeframe, or for special arrangements or time restrictions for waste removal, contact the Hazardous Materials group directly at 492-7845.

Can I treat my own material/waste to make it non-hazardous?

Simple treatment of hazardous waste to render it non-hazardous is encouraged in laboratories when it's part of an experimental process.

In all cases, prior-approval from EH&S is required and authorization from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, may be required before any treatment is sanctioned.

Can I dump my material/waste down the drain?

Ed & Chris wearing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) while handling hazardous materials.

Where generators, in consultation with EH&S, are able to certify that generated, outdated or treated materials are indeed non-hazardous. (i.e., nonflammable, nontoxic, non-reactive, does not contain heavy metals or - EPA-listed hazardous waste constituents) and has a pH between 5.5 and 10.5, disposal in the sanitary sewer may be permitted. Please call 303-492-7845 or e-mail EH&S at to review your waste stream and discuss the most effective and responsible means of disposal.

What Can I Do If I Don"t Know What It Is?

Chris approaching a lab doorway marked with appropriate NFPA signage.

Unknown or unlabeled hazardous materials create safety problems for laboratory, maintenance, and emergency personnel. The storage of unknown or unlabeled wastes is prohibited. EH&S will assist in the identification and classification of unknown chemicals to assure proper management and disposal. Fill out a waste tag with as much info as possible, for instance "unknown clear liquid, pH = 4, unknown yellow powder" etc. and submit to EH&S, 413 UCB. Where an unknown material requires substantial analysis, costs incurred may be the responsibility of the generating department.

What if I move into a lab with unknown materials?

Signage that is posted to designate areas within labs as Satellite Accumulation Areas (SAA).

If you "inherit" a lab that has unknown materials in it, please contact EH&S immediately. In most cases these materials can be identified and removed so they no longer represent a safety concern. Ignoring unknowns not only increases your safety risk but also reduces the chance of contacting a previous occupant, thereby making identification of the material that much harder.

Can EHS provide some assistance with getting rid of a large amount of chemical wastes?

An example of a Hazardous Materials Waste Accumulation Log that is posted at laboratory Satellite Accumulation Areas (SAA).

For large volumes of surplus chemicals that need disposal, contact the Hazardous Materials group at 303-492-7845 for assistance and helpful suggestions. We have a pre-segregation process for large volumes of chemicals that can greatly reduce the number of HMW tags that need to be completed.

How do I select a suitable container?

All waste has its place in the Treatment Storage and Disposal Facility (TSDF)

Hazardous material/waste must be stored in non-leaking chemically resistant containers, capped and separated by hazard class. If the waste stored has a strong odor, seal the cap with chemically resistant tape. While a container is being used to store waste in an SAA, it must have the words "Hazardous Waste" visibly labeled on the container; a Hazardous Material/Waste Tag attached to each container with the wire provided will fulfill this requirement while accumulating waste. EH&S also currently supplies pre-printed stickers free of charge to label your containers as "Hazardous Waste" via their office or the stores at Chemistry and MCDB. To maximize program and cost efficiency, match container sizes to the volume of hazardous material/waste collected. Leave air space at the top to allow for expansion. Do not overfill containers. Re-use containers that chemicals originally came in for disposal whenever possible as long as they"re non-leaking and compatible with the waste. Chemistry stores currently sells 19L carboys which are appropriate for use as waste disposal containers. Examples of inappropriate collection containers include milk cartons, juice containers, mason jars, and soft cartons or plastic trash bags for sharps.

Is secondary containment for chemicals required?

Generators are required to provide appropriate spill-prevention measures, such as secondary containment devices, and to segregate stored hazardous material/waste containers by chemical compatibility: oxidizers, flammables and combustibles, acids, bases and reactives. EH&S can assist in the selection of secondary containment and has a limited supply of secondary containment devices that may be provided on a case-by-case basis.

How do I dispose of empty containers?

Follow the EH&S guidance on Empty Container Disposal.

Does EHS provide equipment disposal?

When disposing of equipment via University Property Services and/or Facilities Management, the generator/client is responsible for cleanup or removal of any potential hazardous contamination. The Hazardous Waste Group can provide guidance and recommendations on these procedures as needed by the client.

Please submit this form to Property Services and or Facilities Management as needed.

For any questions regarding decontamination procedures for chemical hazards please call 303-492-7845.

What do I do with used electronics?

Mark Lapham, HWM manager, in the EH&S CDPHE permitted Treatment Storage and Disposal Facility (TSDF).

Property Services has a program to recycle or resell all of these items.

Please call Property Services at 492-6524 for disposal of all electronic equipment to include all CRTs (computer monitors), circuit boards, hard drives and / or any, all electronic devices or parts regardless of the condition of the item.

If you have questions or concerns, please email us or call 303 492-7845.

How do I dispose of batteries?

Chris performing waste consolidation procedures.

Deposit batteries in the various battery collection containers located around campus. Please see the Campus Battery collection site list for a listing of public battery collection sites on campus. Alternatively, you may collect, store, and dispose of batteries via the EH&S Haz Waste program using the HMW tag. Any/all small sealed battery types are accepted in the collection containers including: alkaline batteries, rechargeable batteries, lithium cells, nickel-cadmium, sealed lead acid, button-cell, cell-phone batteries, laptop batteries, etc. For large and/or unsealed battery types, use the HMW tag for disposal. Do you want to help even further? -Please apply tape to all battery terminals or place each battery separately into a plastic baggie to prevent short circuits while in transit to the recycling facility.  The University recycles all battery types.

How do I get rid of gas cylinders?

Monitoring the neutralization of corrosive liquid waste.

Disposal of gas cylinders is extremely expensive! Please only order what you absolutely cannot do without. Order your gases in "rental" cylinders that can be returned vs. lecture bottles that need to be disposed of. Be aware that your department may be responsible for the cost of cylinder disposal. The EH&S hazardous waste facility is not permitted to store such vessels. Cylinders should be stored in a manner that limits access to unauthorized personnel and prevents them from falling. If you have cylinders to dispose of please contact the Hazardous Materials Group for assistance at 303-492-7845 or

How do I dispose of Metal sharps?

Follow the EH&S guidance on Segregation and Disposal of Metal Sharps

How do I dispose of Broken Glass, Pipette Tips and other Plastic Puncture Hazards?

Follow the EH&S guidance on Segregation and Disposal of Broken Glass, Pipette Tips and other Plastic Puncture Hazards

How do I dispose of DEA Controlled Substances?

Follow the EH&S guidance on Disposal of Controlled Substances and other Pharmaceuticals