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Radioactive Wastes

Scheduling Waste Pick-Ups

Radioactive waste pickups may be arranged by using our on-line form found at the end of this page.

 

A Radioactive Waste Receipt form (see below) is required for each container of radioactive waste you wish to have picked up.  These forms are available through the RSO.

The waste form must be completely filed out (except the RSO part ), If all information is not provided, your waste cannot be picked up.

When filling out the chemical form section please use only full chemical name, not chemical formulae or acronyms.

The waste form also has guidelines for waste segregation on the back to the top (white) copy.

Please try to plan in advance and allow up to 5 business days for pickup of waste.

Containers must be free of external contamination when presented for pickup. The RSO will verify the absence of loose surface contamination upon delivery to our waste processing facility.

Many waste streams contain more than one hazard, contact Environmental Health and Safety at 335-3041 or www.ehs.wsu.edu for assistance with biological and chemical waste questions.

Radioactive Waste Types and Definitions

Aqueous Radioactive Waste: A radioactive liquid whose pH is in the range of 6 to 9 and which contains no hazardous or dangerous components.

Authorized user: A person (typically a Principal Investigator) trained and badged by the Radiation Safety Office who has received permission from the Radiation Safety Committee to use and possess radioactive materials and supervise the use of radioactive material by others.

Biohazardous wastes: Environmental Health and Safety considers the following materials to be biohazardous:

  • Recombinant DNA
  • Oncogenic viruses
  • Infectious agents
  • Blood and blood-contaminated materials
  • Animal carcasses and parts
  • Chemical carcinogens in tissue mediums
  • HEPA filters from biological safety cabinets and BL-III facility exhaust ducts

If questions arise regarding biohazards, contact Environmental Health and Safety at http://www.ehs.wsu.edu  or call (509) 335-3041.

Dry solid waste: Waste comprised of solid materials containing no liquids.

Long-lived Isotopes: Radioactive isotope whose half life is greater than 120 days.

Mixed Waste: Mixed waste is any waste that presents multiple hazards, for example- a radiation hazard and a chemical hazard.  A radioactive liquid whose pH is outside the range of 6 to 9 or which contains substances considered to be hazardous and/or dangerous by the state of Washington.

Please consult with Environmental Health and safety to determine if the substances or concentrations other than radioactive material in your waste are hazardous. http://www.ehs.wsu.edu/

There are only three scintillation fluids currently approved by the State of Washington Department of Ecology as non-hazardous. Using one of these three will keep your scintillation waste from becoming a mixed waste.

  • Microscint-O
    Perkin Elmer Life and Analytical Sciences
    710 Bridgeport Avenue, Shelton, CT 06484
    1.800.762.4000 (USA)
  • Optifluor
    Perkin Elmer Life and Analytical Sciences
    710 Bridgeport Avenue, Shelton, CT 06484
    1.800.762.4000 (USA)
  • Ecoscint Original LS-271
    National Diagnostics
    305 Patton Drive, Atlanta, GA 30336
    1.800.526.3867 (USA)

Radiation worker: A person trained by the RSO and an individual authorized user who receives a badge for monitoring radiation exposure resulting from work with radioactive materials.

Sharps: Glass pipettes, broken glass, needles and any other sharp items .

Short-lived Isotopes: Radioactive isotope whose half life is less than or equal to 120 days.

Transuranic Isotopes: Radioactive isotope whose atomic number is greater than 92.

Radioactive Waste Receipt: Available through Radiation Safety Office.

Waste Segregation

The following waste segregation procedures have been developed to minimize the environmental impact and cost of radioactive waste disposal. Please call the Radiation Safety Office with any questions regarding isotopes or waste streams that are not listed below.

Solid Radioactive Waste Segregation Procedure:

Double walled fiberboard boxes are available in 2 ft3 and 1 ft3 from the Radiation Safety Office:
Segregate solid waste as follows: Two waste boxes, one box for items containing polyvinyl chloride, one box for all other dry solid waste.
Isotopes that have similar half-lives may be combined in the same boxes. Do not mix long-lived isotopes with short-lived isotopes.
H-3 and C-14 may be combined in the same boxes, but must be kept seperate from other long-lived isotopes.
Transuranic isotopes must be segregated from all other isotopes.

Liquid Radioactive Waste Segregation Procedure:

Liquid radioactive waste is separated into two basic categories; aqueous and mixed wastes. Please keep these types of waste segregated from each other to the maximum extent possible.
Please adjust pH of aqueous solutions to fall in the range of 6 to 9.
Liquid radioactive waste should only be placed in 1 gallon or 5 gallon plastic containers supplied by the Radiation Safety Office.
Isotopes that have similar half-lives may be combined in the same containers. Do not mix long-lived isotopes with short lived isotopes.
H-3 and C-14 may be combined, but must be kept in a container separate from other long-lived isotopes.
Transuranic isotopes must be segregated from all other isotopes.
Containers used for mixed wastes must have a dangerous waste label (see below ) affixed to them. This label should be attached to the contaner before it is put in use. Please fill in the major hazard and constituents blocks.

Liquid Scintillation Vials:

Vials must be separated by isotope as described in liquid waste procedures above.
Scintillation vials which contain no radioactive material must be kept separate from vials which contain radioactive material.  If the vial contains no radioactive material and a non-hazardous scintillation fluid, it should be disposed of in regular trash.

Some liquid scintillation cocktails are considered to be Hazardous Waste in the state of Washington. We ask that you consider the use of liquid scintillation cocktails which do not designate as Hazardous Waste. Hazardous Waste mixed with Radioactive Waste is considered “Mixed Waste” and is very expensive to dispose of.  Please consult with Environmental Health and Safety to determine if the cocktail you plan to use is considered a Hazardous Waste. Each Mixed Waste batch of scintillation cocktail waste you wish picked up must have a filled out dangerous waste label (see below ) affixed to it.  These labels are available from EH&S.  Please fill in the major hazard and constituents blocks.

There are only three scintillation fluids currently approved by the State of Washington Department of Ecology as non-hazardous. Using one of these three will keep your scintillation waste from becoming a mixed waste.

  • Microscint-O
    Perkin Elmer Life and Analytical Sciences
    710 Bridgeport Avenue, Shelton, CT 06484
    1.800.762.4000 (USA)
  • Optifluor
    Perkin Elmer Life and Analytical Sciences
    710 Bridgeport Avenue, Shelton, CT 06484
    1.800.762.4000 (USA)
  • Ecoscint Original LS-271
    National Diagnostics
    305 Patton Drive, Atlanta, GA 30336
    1.800.526.3867 (USA)

Disposal of Sharps ( SPPM S80.13 )

Sharps (glass pipettes, broken glass, needles and any other sharp items) must be segregated by isotope as outlined above in solid waste.
Place sharps in a Horizontal Entry Sharps Container (See Below ) identified as containing radioactive materials. These containers are available through Central Stores.
When box is filled up to the butterfly closure base, seal box with tape to prevent further introduction of sharps.
Fill out a Radioactive Waste Receipt form for the sharps box and arrange a radioactive waste pickup.

Disposal of Biohazardous Wastes

The Radiation Safety Office will not accept radioactive waste which contains a biohazard with the exception of sharps. The biohazardous component must be neutralized prior to pickup by RSO staff.

Waste Disposal by User

Releases to Sewer System (Pullman Campus Only)

In accordance with the Washington State Administrative Code ( WAC 246-221-190 ) authorized Pullman campus users may release small quantities of non-alpha-emitting radionuclides to the sanitary sewer only if two conditions are met: It is in a readily soluble form or if it is a biological material it is readily dispersible in water.

No hazardous wastes are allowed; only aqueous wastes may be released. Contact EH&S for assistance in determining if your waste designates as hazardous/dangerous.

To ensure that total releases do not exceed regulatory limits, authorized users are not to exceed those release limits in the table below.

IsotopeMonthly Release Limit
H-34,160 microcuries
C-14830 microcuries
All others (except alpha emitters) 83 microcuries per isotope

No alpha emitting isotopes may be discharged by individual authorized users.

The Radiation Safety Office (RSO) must maintain accurate records of releases to the sanitary sewer.

Each authorized Pullman campus user must record radionuclide sewer releases on a Radioactive Sanitary Sewer Discharge Record form. Use one form for each radionuclide released for each month in which releases are made. Send copies of completed Radioactive Sanitary Sewer Discharge Records to the Radiation Safety Office for any month in which such discharges take place.

Radioactive Sewer Discharge Record

 

Releases to the Atmosphere

Authorized users may release small quantities of non-alpha-emitting radionuclides to the atmosphere.

Each authorized user must record radionuclide releases to the air on a Summary of Radionuclide Disposals to the Air. Use one form for each radionuclide released for each month in which releases are made.

Radionuclide Disposal to the Air

Send copies of the completed forms to the Radiation Safety Office for any month in which such discharges take place.

Disposal of Boxes Used to Ship Radioactive Materials

Boxes used to ship radioactive materials to individual labs may be disposed of after verifying by meter survey and swipe survey the absence of radioactive contamination and defacing any and all markings which would indicate the packaging contains or contained radioactive materials. These verification surveys must be performed by personnel who have been qualified to work with radioactive materials by the Radiation Safety Office.

Disposal of Lead Pigs 

Lead is a hazardous waste and can not be discarded in normal trash. Lead pigs should be surveyed for contamination before being sent to EH&S for disposal.

Radioactive Waste Pick-Up Form

If special arrangements must be made to pick up waste (i.e. lab is occupied only at certain times, etc.), please include this information on the form.
Omission of any of the above information may delay the removal of radioactive waste from your facility.