(Approved by the Executive Director of Health Sciences Administration by authority of Executive Order No. 1)
In compliance with all local, state, and federal environmental laws and regulations including, but not limited to, the Washington State Department of Ecology rules (Chapter 173-303 WAC, Dangerous Waste Regulations and Chapter 118-40 WAC, Hazardous Chemical Emergency Response Planning and Community Right-to-Know Reporting), the University of Washington is required to report and clean up accidental spills and releases of hazardous waste or hazardous substances (solid, liquid, or gas) to the environment (water, air, soil).
The Environmental Health and Safety Department (EH&S) is responsible in making the appropriate notifications to regulatory agencies. All spills to the environment at the University must be reported to EH&S as quickly as possible. Failure to adequately respond to environmental releases, including notification of regulatory agencies, may result in an injury, environmental damage, costly delays and fines, and poses a serious liability to the University.
This policy applies at all locations including the Seattle, Bothell, and Tacoma campuses, jointly-owned facilities, all other University-owned property, University leased space, and temporary field operations and field trips that are under the control of University operations and staff.
The UW Bothell campus has special considerations related to co-location with Cascadia Community College and relationships with local jurisdictions and agencies that affect how this policy is implemented. Consult UW Bothell operating procedures and programs for implementation details.
The UW Tacoma campus has special considerations related to local jurisdictions and agencies. Consult UW Tacoma operating procedures and programs for implementation details.
It is University policy that each vice chancellor, vice president, dean, director, department chair, and supervisor is responsible for the health and safety performance in his or her respective units. This responsibility can neither be transferred nor delegated.
EH&S has the following responsibilities:
Individual departments have the following responsibilities:
The source of the spill must first be controlled (e.g. shutting an open valve, etc.), if safe and feasible, and next contained (e.g. diking or absorbing to prevent spread), if possible.
A laboratory spill that is unsafe for or beyond the capability of laboratory personnel to clean up, or any release to the environment, must be reported to the EH&S Environmental Programs Office as soon as possible. EH&S will contact the Hazmat contractor and make the appropriate notification to all regulatory agencies.
Accidental spills of a radioactive, biohazardous, or chemically hazardous material require special procedures. If the spill is an emergency or if anyone is in danger, immediately call:
Emergency personnel from the local jurisdiction will dispatched to help.
Cleanup of a spill or discharge is always required. If the person responsible for a spill determines that cleanup is beyond their capacity, or is unsafe, a request for Hazmat contractor assistance may be made to EH&S. The cost of Hazmat contractor cleanup is billed to the department or unit responsible for the spill.
Questions regarding spills and releases to the environment should be directed to the Environmental Health and Safety Department:
Laboratory Spill Procedures
Spill and Discharges to Air, Water, Soil
(For the reference of individuals and organizational units in meeting spill and release requirements.)
May 1977; February 18, 2003.