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WASTE MINIMIZATION AND DISPOSAL (1100)/Waste Treatment and Disposal



1100 A. Introduction
Waste minimization and disposal are part of integrated hazardous materials management. It is important to become familiar with federal regulations regarding the use and disposal of hazardous materials prior to their purchase, storage, and use for water and wastewater analysis. Proper management of hazardous materials will reduce the amount of hazardous waste and associated disposal costs.

1100 B. Waste Minimization

1. General Considerations

Waste minimization or pollution prevention in the laboratory is the preferred approach in managing laboratory waste. Minimizing waste makes good economic sense: it reduces both costs and liabilities associated with waste disposal. For certain hazardous-waste generators it also is a regulatory requirement.
2. Waste Minimization Methods

Waste minimization methods include source reduction, recycling, and reclamation.1 Waste treatment, which also may be considered a form of waste minimization, is addressed in 1100C. Source reduction can be achieved through the purchase and use of smaller quantities of chemicals. While large-volume purchases may seem economical, the costs of disposing of expiredshelf-life materials also must be considered. Date chemical inventory and use oldest stock rst, or if possible, use just in time material delivery. Commercial laboratories and chemical users in general can return samples or unopened chemicals to sender or supplier for recycling or disposal. Many suppliers will accept unopened containers of chemicals. Substitute nonhazardous materials for hazardous chemicals where possible. Wherever possible use methods that do not require the use of hazardous chemicals or use micro-scale analytical methods. Improving laboratory procedures, documentation, and training will increase awareness of waste minimization and proper disposal practices, and may allow different sections within a laboratory to share standards and stock chemicals. Evaluate hazard-

ous materials storage and use areas for potential evaporation, spills, and leaks. Segregate waste streams where possible to keep nonhazardous waste from becoming hazardous waste through contact with hazardous waste. Segregation also facilitates treatment and disposal. Transfer of unused stock chemicals to other areas of the laboratory where they may be used or to other institutions is a way to minimize waste.2 Check with laboratorys legal counsel before transferring chemicals. Recycling/reclamation has limited potential in water and wastewater laboratories. Volumes generated are generally too small for economical reclamation and purity requirements are often too great. However, organic solvents often can be distilled and recovered for reuse and mercury and silver can be recovered.3
3. References
1. ASHBROOK, P.C. & P.A. REINHARDT. 1985. Hazardous wastes in academia. Environ. Sci. Technol. 19:1150. 2. PINE, S.H. 1984. Chemical management: A method for waste reduction. J. Chem. Educ. 61:A45. 3. HENDRICKSON, K.J., M.M. BENJAMIN, J.F. FERGUSON & L. GOEBEL. 1984. Removal of silver and mercury from spent COD test solutions. J. Water Pollut. Control. Fed. 56(5):468.

4. Bibliography
AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY. 1985. Less is Better. Dep. Public Affairs, American Chemical Soc., Washington, D.C.

1100 C. Waste Treatment and Disposal

1. General Considerations

Stringent penalties exist for the improper disposal of hazardous wastes. Potential criminal and civil liability exists for both organizations and individuals. Specic requirements vary by state and local jurisdiction and are subject to change.

Federal requirements for hazardous waste generators and transporters and for treatment, storage, and disposal facilities (TSDFs) are found in regulations pursuant to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA) as amended by the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments of 1984 (HSWA). Many activities, in particular treatment, storage,



and disposal of hazardous wastes, require a permit or license.1,2 Develop a plan for the safe and legal disposal of chemical and biological substances in conjunction with the laboratory supervisor and safety coordinator. Plan should address the proper transport, storage, treatment, and disposal of hazardous waste. Properly characterize composites and document wastes. Refer to Section 1090 on Safety with regard to protective equipment in the handling of hazardous materials.
2. Waste Treatment and Disposal Methods

Treatment can be used to reduce volume, mobility, and/or toxicity of hazardous waste where expertise and facilities are available. Treatment, even on a small scale, may require a permit. Consult with federal, state, and local regulatory ofcials. Waste treatment methods include thermal, chemical, physical, and biological treatment, and combinations of these methods.1 a. Thermal treatment: Thermal treatment methods include incineration and sterilization. They involve using high temperatures to change the chemical, physical, or biological character or composition of the waste. Incineration is often used to destroy organic solvents and is preferred for infectious wastes, although sterilization through autoclaving and/or ultraviolet light also may be allowed. Check with local health department ofcials. b. Chemical treatment: Methods include chemical reaction (oxidation/reduction, neutralization, ion exchange, chemical xation, photolysis, coagulation, precipitation) of the waste material. Neutralization of acidic or alkaline wastes is the most common form of chemical treatment. Elementary neutralization of corrosive wastes is exempt from federal RCRA permitting requirements. Before discharge of wastes to a publicly owned treatment works (POTW), ensure that they contain no pollutants (other than corrosivity) exceeding the limits set by the POTW. The oxidation of cyanide to cyanate with a strong chemical oxidant is an example of a toxicity-reducing chemical treatment. c. Physical treatment: Methods include solidication, compaction, photo-induced reaction, distillation, occulation, sedimentation, otation, aeration, ltration, centrifugation, reverse osmosis, ultraltration, gravity thickening, and carbon or resin adsorption. Physical treatment generally reduces volume or mobility of waste materials. d. Biological treatment: Methods include using biosolids to destroy organic compounds, composting organic-rich wastes, and using bioreactors to promote decomposition. Biological treatment usually is economical on a scale larger than is possible in most water and wastewater laboratories. e. Ultimate disposal: After waste minimization and treatment, remaining waste streams require disposal. Nonhazardous wastes that cannot be treated further can be discharged as wastewater, emitted to the atmosphere, or placed on or in the ground. With extreme caution, it may be permissible to dispose of limited quantities (at certain concentrations) of laboratory wastes to the sanitary sewer system or to evaporate volatile wastes in chemical ventilation hoods. Obtain written permission of local, state, and federal authorities to dispose of waste in this manner. With increasing regulatory constraints imposed by RCRA, the

Clean Air Act, and Clean Water Act, these disposal options are becoming increasingly limited. Wastes disposed of in this manner may contact other substances in the sewer or ventilation systems and produce hazardous reactions. Most hazardous wastes generated in laboratories must be sent off site for further treatment and disposal. Exercise extreme care in selecting a reputable waste hauler and disposal rm. Many rms will assist laboratories in packaging and manifesting lab packs, 19- to 208-L (5- to 55-gal) drums containing several smaller containers of wastes.1 Liability does not disappear when the waste leaves the generators facility. Ensure that the laboratory receives a copy of the completed manifest and certicate of treatment and/or disposal. If possible, visit the disposal facility in advance to observe how it will manage a waste. Certain wastes require special handling. As mentioned previously, incinerate infectious waste or sterilize it before disposal. Before reuse, sterilize all nondisposable equipment that has come into contact with infectious waste. Although most water and wastewater laboratories do not work with radiochemical wastes, some do. Handle radiochemical wastes with extreme care. Generalized disposal criteria for radioactive wastes have been developed by the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements.3 Low-level radioactive waste must be in solid form for nal disposal on land. Some rms will process liquid radioactive wastes into solids. Adding absorbent materials to liquid radioactive wastes is not permissible. Certain states allow low-level liquid radioactive waste to be discharged to a permitted publicly owned treatment works (POTW). Other wastes that require special handling include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxin/furans and their precursors, petroleum products, and asbestos. Consult with federal and state ofcials before disposing of these wastes.
3. References
1. AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY. 1983. RCRA and Laboratories. Dep. Public Affairs, American Chemical Soc., Washington, D.C. 2. U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY. 1990. Standards for Owners and Operators of Hazardous Waste Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities. 40 CFR Part 264. 3. U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY. Standards for Protection Against Radiation. 10 CFR Part 20.

4. Bibliography
NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES, NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING & INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE. 1983. Prudent Practices for the Disposal of Chemicals from Laboratories. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. KROFTA, M. & L.K. WANG. 1985. Hazardous Waste Management in Institutions and Colleges. PB86-194180/AS, U.S. National Technical Information Serv., Springeld, Va. SNIDER, E.H. 1992. Waste minimization. In L.K. Wang & M.H.S. Wang, eds., Handbook of Industrial Waste Treatment, p.1. Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York, N.Y. DUFOUR, J.T. 1994. Hazardous Waste Management Guide for Laboratories. Dufour Group, Sacramento, Calif.