University of Washington Policy Directory

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*Formerly part of the University Handbook
Administrative Policy Statement

Management and Disposal of Hazardous Wastes

(Approved by the Executive Director of Health Sciences Administration by authority of Executive Order No. 1)

1.  Policy

In compliance with all local, state, and federal environmental laws and regulations including, but not limited to, the Washington State Department of Ecology rules under Chapter 173-303 WAC, Dangerous Waste Regulations; the Washington State Department of Health under RCW 70.95K.010, Biomedical Waste Definitions; King County Board of Health Code 10.07, Biomedical Waste; and applicable requirements of local jurisdictions and municipalities, the University of Washington is required to regulate hazardous waste materials generated at the Seattle, Bothell, and Tacoma campuses and all satellite locations and activities.

Many waste materials generated at the University can be harmful to people and the environment. Individuals generating hazardous waste bear primary responsibility for identification, safe storage, packaging, and disposal of hazardous waste in accordance with regulatory requirements.

  • Biological/infectious waste is defined as human and animal blood, and blood products; cultures and stocks of etiologic agents; sharps (instruments used to puncture, cut, or scrape body parts); animal waste; animal carcasses and body parts; and human pathological waste.

  • Hazardous chemical waste is defined as any liquid, gaseous, or solid chemical that is ignitable, corrosive, reactive, toxic, or persistent, and is no longer useful or wanted.

  • Radioactive waste is defined as any material (solid, liquid, or gas) which emits radiation spontaneously, and which is no longer of use and intended for disposal or treatment for the purposes of disposal. Since nearly all naturally occurring materials emit small amounts of radiation spontaneously, this does not apply to materials containing H-3 or C-14 at a concentration less than 0.05 microCurie/gram, or other radionuclides at a concentration less than 0.005 microCurie/gram.

2.  Scope

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.

3.  UW Compliance Responsibility

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 their respective units. This responsibility can neither be transferred nor delegated.

A.  Environmental Health and Safety Department

The Environmental Health and Safety Department (EH&S) has authority and responsibility for management of the collection, transport, temporary storage, and disposal of regulated wastes, including the recycling of solvents, redistribution of unused chemicals, and waste minimization techniques.

B.  Individual User

Faculty, staff, and students must recognize their responsibility as hazardous waste generators and understand the University’s chemical, radiological, and biological waste management programs. Everyone must reduce the volume of regulated waste as much as possible. Generators must promptly identify waste for disposal, contact EH&S for waste collection, accurately identify the primary hazards of the waste, label containers of all wastes, maintain records, and safely store wastes pending disposal. Procedures for proper waste management are provided in the Lab Safety Manual and EH&S web page.

C.  Campus, Organizational Unit, and Department

Each campus, organizational unit, and department must have a policy in place that ensures all hazardous wastes are removed from the laboratory, shop, and construction area according to regulatory requirements. Departments are held responsible for the cost of handling large quantities of abandoned and unlabeled regulated waste and for deactivation or stabilization of reactive waste.

D.  Capital Projects Office

To reduce the University's long-term liability and/or costly change orders on projects managed by the UW Capital Projects Office, project managers identify the types and estimated quantities of hazardous wastes to be generated by a project. The use of University approved transportation and disposal facilities must be specified in contract documents. Guidance for project managers on waste management is available in the Project Managers Reference Document for Environmental Stewardship. For UW capital projects not managed by the UW Capital Projects Office, a determination of responsibility and liability for hazardous waste generated by the project must be made in advance and on a project specific basis.

4.  Compliance Procedures

5.  Additional Information

Questions regarding disposal of Hazardous Wastes may be directed to the Environmental Health and Safety Department:

  Biohazardous Waste: Phone:
  Chemical Waste: Phone:
  Radioactive Waste: Phone:

Information is also available in the Laboratory Safety Manual, the Radiation Safety Manual, and the Biohazard Safety Manual. See EH&S Training to assist in meeting these requirements.

October 1986; February 18, 2003.