Guide for Drain Disposal of Laboratory Chemicals
MSU Safety and Risk Management (SRM) prepared this guide with assistance from various resources in the toxicology, chemistry, and environmental sciences.
Staff at the Bozeman Area Waste Water Treatment Plant, the destination of MSU s wastewater, were consulted in developing these guidelines to assure that local government regulations are followed.
Within individual laboratories, authorization for specific operations, delineation of appropriate safety procedures and instruction about these procedures is a responsibility of the principal investigator (PI).
It is the responsibility of each MSU laboratory worker to be sure that chemical waste generated from his or her activities is disposed of properly. Some materials can be safely let into the sanitary sewer and others can cause damage to health, the environment, or the functioning of the wastewater plant.
Inappropriate chemicals put down the drain may be incorporated into sludge formed in wastewater treatment, contaminating it enough to be classified as a hazardous waste where otherwise it might have been recycled. After treated wastewater leaves the plant, it flows to East Gallatin River, a major recreational and drinking water resource for this area. The stewardship of this important natural resource is our collective responsibility.
Laboratory workers should consult this guide before undertaking drain disposal of any lab chemicals.
3.0 GENERAL GUIDELINES
Send down the drain only those materials found on the safe list. Compounds not listed are not suitable for drain disposal.
Drain disposal must only be used when the drain flows to a sanitary sewer system* which eventually goes to the wastewater treatment plant. Storm drain systems flow directly into surface water (East Gallatin for example) and should NEVER be used for chemical disposal. Laboratory sinks should be used for disposal of chemicals on the safe list as discussed below.
Quantities of chemical waste for drain disposal should be limited generally to a few hundred grams or milliliters or less per day. Larger amounts should have prior approval from Chemical Safety. Only materials listed as safe for drain disposal in this document are approved for drain disposal in quantities up to 100 grams or 100 milliliter per discharge. Disposal should be followed by flushing with at least 100-fold excess of water at the sink. (That means for 100 ml of chemical run the water for about two minutes at maximum flow.)
Understand the hazards and toxicity of the materials you work with by consulting material safety data sheets (soon to be available in every department). Work slowly to avoid splashes and wear the proper protective equipment (lab coat, goggles, face shield, gloves) during drain disposal.
*Sanitary sewer is the system of sinks, toilets, drains and associated pipes that send wastewater to a treatment plant where it is biologically and chemically treated before discharge into the environment.
The MSU Chemical Safety Team will collect chemicals that are not appropriate for drain disposal. See appropriate section.
4.0 NOT SAFE FOR DRAIN DISPOSAL
THE FOLLOWING MATERIALS ARE PROHIBITED FROM DRAIN DISPOSAL BY THE CITY OF BOZEMAN:
Ashes, cinders, sand, mud, straw, shavings, metal, glass, rags, feathers, tar, plastics, wood, manure, hair and fleshing, entrails, paint residues, solid or viscous substances capable of causing obstruction to the flow of sewers.
Some chemicals that are not appropriate for drain disposal include:
Flammables (immiscible in water)
Explosives such as azides and peroxides
Water soluble polymers that could form gels in the sewer system
Water reactive materials
Toxic chemicals such as carcinogens, mutagens, teratogens
Substances that boil below 50 C.
Mixtures that have a component not found on the safe list.
Any material not found on the safe list.
Check with Chemical Safety at 994-3572 if you are not certain about drain disposal for a particular material. We may also be able to provide you with instructions for laboratory detoxification for some materials.
5.0 SAFE FOR DRAIN DISPOSAL
Dilute solutions of inorganic salts where both cation and anion are listed below are suitable for drain disposal. Materials listed are considered to be relatively low in toxicity. Compounds of any of these ions that are strongly acidic or basic should be neutralized before drain disposal.
Fe+2, +3 Br-
Ti+3, +4 SO4-2
Mineral acids and bases should be neutralized to pH 5.5 to 9 range before disposal, following procedures in Appendix A.
Copper and Zinc have specific discharge limits required by the Sewage Treatment Plant. Contact Chemical Safety at 994-3572 prior to discharging any copper or zinc solutions.
Materials listed below in quantities up to about 10g or 100 ml at a time are suitable for disposal down the drain while flushing with excess water. These materials are soluble to at least 3 percent; present low toxicity hazards and are readily biodegradable. Larger volumes must be collected by the Chemical Safety Team.
Alkanols with 4 or fewer carbon atoms:
propanol and isomers
butanol and isomers
Alkanediols with 7 or fewer carbon atoms
butanediol + isomers
pentanediol + isomers
hexanediol + isomers
heptanediol + isomers
Alkoxyalkanols with 6 or fewer carbon atoms:
n-C4H9OCH2CH2OCH2CH2OH (2(2-butoxyethoxy) ethanol)
Aliphatic aldehydes with 4 or fewer carbon atoms:
formaldehyde (10% or less aqueous solution) <100mls per discharge!!
RCONH2 and RCONHR with 4 or fewer carbon atoms and RCONR2 with 10 or fewer carbon atoms:
N, N-dimethyl propionamide
Aliphatic amines with 6 or fewer carbon atoms:
Aliphatic diamines with 6 or fewer carbon atoms:
1,2- or 1,3- propanediamine (1,2- or 1,3- diaminopropane)
*Amines with a disagreeable odor, such as dimethylamine and 1,4-butanediamine should be neutralized, and the resulting salt solutions flushed down the drain, diluted with at least 100 volumes of water. Disposal limit is 100ml of material.
Alkanoic acids with 5 or fewer carbon atom: *
Alkanedioic acids with 5 or fewer carbon atoms:
oxalic acid (1,2-ethanedioic acid)
malonic acid (1,3-propanedioic acid)
succinic acid (1,4-butanedioic acid)
glutaric acid (1,5-pentanedioic acid)
Hydroxyalkanoic acids with 5 or fewer carbon atoms:
lactic acid (2- hydroxypropanoic acid)
2-hydroxy isobutyric acid
Aminoalkanoic acids with 6 or fewer carbon atoms and the ammonium, sodium and potassium salts of these acids.
Amino acids and the ammonium, sodium and potassium salts of these acids.
*Organic acids with a disagreeable odor, such as butyric acids and valeric acids should be neutralized and the resulting salt solutions flushed down the drain, diluted with at least 100 volumes of water. Disposal limit is 100 ml. of material.
Esters with 4 or fewer carbon atoms:
Ketones with 4 or fewer carbon atoms:
methyl ethyl ketone (butanone)
methyl isopropyl ketone (3-methyl butanone)
Sulfonic Acids and the Ammonium, Sodium, and Potassium Salts of these Acids:
methane sulfonic acid, sodium or potassium salt
ethane sulfonic acid, sodium or potassium salt
1-propane sulfonic acid, sodium or potassium salt
1-butane sulfonic acid, sodium or potassium salt
1-pentane sulfonic acid, sodium or potassium salt
1-hexane sulfonic acid, sodium or potassium salt
1-heptane sulfonic acid, sodium or potassium salt
1-octane sulfonic acid, sodium or potassium salt
1-decane sulfonic acid, sodium or potassium salt
1-dodecane sulfonic acid, sodium or potassium salt
1-tetradecane sulfonic acid, sodium or potassium salt
1-hexadecane sulfonic acid, sodium or potassium salt
Do neutralizations in a fume hood behind a safety shield, as fumes and heat may be generated. Wear lab coat or apron, gloves and goggles.
Keep containers cool during process.
After neutralization is complete, flush to sewer with 20 parts water.
1. While stirring, add acids to large amounts of an ice water solution of base such as sodium carbonate, calcium hydroxide, or sodium hydroxide for concentrated acids.
1. When a pH of at least 5.5 and less than 9.0 is achieved, dispose of the solution into the sewer, followed by 20 parts water.
1. Add the base to a large vessel containing water. Slowly add a 1M solution of HCI.
2. When a pH of less than 9 and greater than 5.5 is achieved, dispose of solution into sewer system followed by 20 parts water.
USED OIL COLLECTION AND DISPOSAL
1.0 USED OIL COLLECTION
Oil should be collected locally and stored temporarily in approved and properly marked containers provided by Chemical Safety. The containers must be clearly marked "USED Oil only: No solvents."
2.0 DISPOSAL OF USED OILS
When the oil drums are full please contact the Chemical Safety at 994-2711 to obtain information on the disposal of oils. A contract with a recycling company has been made through facilities. Chemical Safety must handle the collection and addition to the recycle container.
National Research Council, Prudent Practices in the Laboratory, Handling and Disposal of Chemicals, National Academy Press, 1995.
American Chemical Society, Safety in Academic Chemistry Laboratories, 1995.
Safety Manuals from the Universities of Wisconsin and Cincinnati.
Bozeman Area Sewer Ordinance