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Handbook of Operating Procedures

Environmental Management and Hazardous Waste Disposal

Policy Number: 89

Subject:

Environmental management system and disposal of regulated waste

Scope:

Employees, trainees (including students, residents, and fellows) and visitors who come in contact with or generate regulated waste in the course of work or study at university facilities and leased spaces. 

Date Reviewed:
April 2018
Responsible Office:
Safety, Health, Environment & Risk Management
Responsible Executive:
Safety, Health, Environment & Risk Management

I. POLICY AND GENERAL STATEMENT

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (“university”) strives to minimize environmental impacts from our daily operations through the implementation of an environmental management system. As part of this system, all regulated waste must be disposed of in accordance with the policies and procedures detailed in the appropriate safety manual or plan including the Chemical Hygiene Plan, the Biological Safety Manual, and the Radiation Safety Manual.

Each employee, trainee and visitor is responsible for knowing and complying with all applicable safety guidelines, regulations and procedures required for assigned tasks. 

II. DEFINITIONS

The types of regulated waste covered by this policy include:

Hazardous chemical waste. Waste listed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as hazardous waste or any waste having toxicity, corrosivity, ignitability, or reactive characteristics making it potentially harmful to humans or the environment when not managed properly. Hazardous chemical waste is regulated by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. For information on the disposal of hazardous chemical waste, refer to the Chemical Hygiene Plan.

Universal hazardous waste. Wastes including, but not limited to, batteries, pesticides, mercury-containing equipment and fluorescent lamps. The regulations governing the collection and management of these widely generated hazardous waste materials are designed to facilitate environmentally sound collection and proper recycling or treatment. For information on the disposal of universal waste, refer to the Chemical Hygiene Plan.

Medical waste. Waste from laboratories, clinics, animal care or other facilities that is potentially infectious to humans. Potentially infectious waste includes, but is not limited to, animal waste, bulk human blood and blood products, pathological waste, microbiological waste and sharps. For information on the disposal of medical waste, refer to the Biological Safety Manual.

Radioactive waste. Waste materials containing a radioactive constituent subject to regulation by the Texas Department of State Health Services / Nuclear Regulatory Commission. For information on the disposal of radioactive waste, refer to the Radiation Safety Manual.

Mixed waste. Mixed waste is waste material possessing any two (or more) of the types of regulated waste listed previously. Mixed waste requires special consideration prior to collection, processing and disposal. The Office of Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) should be contacted for specific guidance.

III. PROCEDURE

EHS serves as the responsible party in all matters related to the disposal of hazardous chemical, universal hazardous, medical, radioactive and mixed waste for the university's environmental management system.

Prior to the start of any activity involving a biological agent, chemical, or radioactive material, plans must be made for the handling and ultimate disposal of waste generated and of surplus amounts of the hazardous material.  EHS may be contacted for guidance in determining methods available for identifying suitable alternatives to hazardous materials, minimizing hazardous waste materials, reducing toxicity and disposing of waste appropriately.

Employees, trainees, and visitors who handle or come in contact with hazardous materials must complete the laboratory safety training course and annual refresher lab safety training. (See HOOP Policy 95 Research Training).  EHS will also provide training seminars on safe handling and disposal of regulated waste upon request.

Any individual who fails to comply with this policy, whether willfully or through negligence, is subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination or expulsion.

IV. CONTACTS

    • Environmental Health and Safety
    • 713-500-8100
    • https://www.uth.edu/safety