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Chemical Waste Management

It is the responsibility of the generating department to determine if a waste is hazardous before disposal. No chemical shall be disposed in the building solid waste (trash) or down the drain unless it has been determined to be non-hazardous and acceptable for disposal through these means. In addition, liquids shall not be placed in the building solid waste; liquids are unacceptable in the landfill since they can migrate into the ground water. Indiscriminate disposal by pouring waste down the drain or adding to mixed refuse for landfill is unacceptable. Hoods shall not be used for disposal of volatiles. Recycling or decontamination of chemical waste should be used when possible.

Do not discharge to the sewer any concentrated acids or bases, any highly toxic, malodorous or lachrymatory substances or anything which may interfere with the biological activity of wastewater treatment plants, create fire or explosion hazards, cause structural damage, or obstruct flow. Consult the Memphis Sewer Use Ordinance (.pdf requires Adobe Reader) before discharging anything to the sewer.

Unlabeled containers of chemicals shall be identified before use or disposal. Departments holding unknowns for disposal may be charged analytical fees as well as associated disposal costs.

Once it has been determined that a waste is hazardous, the following shall apply:

Chemicals with a pH less than 5.5 or greater than 10 shall not be introduced into the sanitary sewer. Neutralize corrosives to acceptable levels before disposal down the drain and be aware of any contaminants such as heavy metals or reaction products that would make the neutralized solution unacceptable for drain disposal.

Potentially infectious items such as cultures, pathogenic waste, human blood and blood products, sharps, and certain body fluids shall be accumulated, handled, and disposed of in accordance with Southwest Infectious Disease Control Plans, the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard, and related regulations. In order to avoid potential liabilities due to the appearance of improper disposal, all hypodermic needles, syringes, scalpel blades, needles with tubing attached, and significant quantities of culture dishes shall be disposed through the medical waste or other suitable contractor. Sharps shall be accumulated in properly labeled, puncture resistant, leak proof containers.

If you have any questions contact the Environmental Health and Safety department at 901-333-4708 [Macon Cove Campus] or 901-333-5459 [Union Avenue Campus].