2022 Annual Report

5 EH&S regularly assists with laboratory clean outs as researchers wrap up projects and professors move on to new adventures, but EH&S found itself in new territory with a particularly challenging clean out of a retiring professor’s storage room. Not so fast: A typical clean out takes about 2-3 hours for the EH&S team to complete, and large ones can take 6-8 hours. However, this clean out spanned two weeks. Contributing factors: Many chemicals in this storage room were hazardous, but that is only part of the story. Several containers weren’t labeled, so the contents were unknown. EH&S partnered with colleagues from the Ames National Laboratory and a third-party vendor to conduct on-site waste determination testing. This was necessary to allow off-site shipment and disposal of the unwanted chemicals. ● Large laboratories equipped for extensive amounts of chemical experiments, like those in Gilman and Hach halls, typically need help with clean outs, but this storage room had an unusually large amount of materials. ● About half of the waste materials were brought to the Regulated Materials Facility in the Environmental Health and Safety Services Building for bulking while the rest were packed and prepared for shipment straight from the laboratory. Unusual suspects: During the pre-removal waste determination process, the team identified chemicals that can no longer be disposed of in the United States and others that were controlled substances. ● The controlled substances were managed through the veterinary medicine incinerator per the university’s standard operating procedure. The other chemicals were sent to Canada where they could be properly managed. Lessons learned: Good housekeeping habits can go a long way in keeping research environments safe and saving time and money when departments pass laboratories to the next researcher(s). ■ Out with the Old Gilman laboratory during the initial waste inspection.