New hazardous waste retrieval system benefits Virginia Tech research community, Facilities Department
Ever wonder what happens to the waste stemming from the almost 1,300 laboratories on campus? Or the hazardous materials from Facilities Department projects?
And how does the waste produced from labs or the Sterrett Facilities Complex come to fill an entire tractor trailer truck each month?
If the waste is hazardous – chemicals, solvents, acids, batteries, old fluorescent lights, paint, and more – it is collected by Virginia Tech Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), the department tasked with promoting a responsible, integrated safety culture at all levels of the university community and assisting departments with complying with regulations and mandates.
EHS also ensures the university is in compliance with all federal, state, and local regulations which govern the handling, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste.
Upon retrieval, EHS sorts the waste in its state-of-the-art processing facility on Beamer Way, consolidates similar wastes, and coordinates pickup by an external vendor to be processed or recycled.
EHS’s new online system for hazardous waste ticket submittal makes it easier than ever for researchers and Facilities employees to arrange waste pickups.
Previously, university clients from labs, Extension centers, Facilities, and the physical plant would complete a paper-based collection request and send it through inter-campus mail.
Now, clients submit the collection request digitally and print out a label. The request is immediately triaged by EHS and scheduled for pickup. Upon pickup, EHS processes the waste tickets using new hand-held scanners and logs the waste into EHS’s inventory before being picked up by an external vendor.
Along with enhancing operational efficiency, improved management reporting, and more responsive customer service, the new system will make compliance reporting to the EPA and other government agencies easier.
“The new hazardous waste online request and inventory system has helped EHS improve its operational efficiency, streamlined and improved reporting, and keep our university clients at the center of the process,” said Rob Lowe, environmental programs manager with EHS, who also helped develop the system.
EHS’s new hazardous waste system has received national notice, too. Lowe and his colleague Kenny Osbourne, industrial hygienist, chemical exposure, recently highlighted the improvements at the national College and University Hazardous Waste Conference in Atlanta.
Click here for more information on EHS’s waste removal services.