- Wastes forbidden from sink/sewer disposal
- Wastes with limited sink/sewer disposal
- Summary of specific chemicals forbidden from sewer disposal
- Summary of specific chemicals with limited sewer disposal
- PDF (print) version of this document
Vanderbilt University is required to comply with sewer disposal restrictions established by the Metro wastewater treatment plant and all applicable State and Federal regulations. This guide is designed to assist laboratories with the identification of waste streams that are prohibited or limited from sink/sewer disposal. Wastes must NOT be intentionally diluted to comply with sink/sewer disposal requirements. Please note that application of some regulatory requirements to laboratory waste streams is extremely complicated. Contact the Office of Clinical and Research Safety (OCRS) for assistance in applying these guidelines to your specific waste streams. For more information on how to collect and manage hazardous wastes, contact OCRS.
Wastes forbidden from sink/sewer disposal
The following wastes must NEVER be discharged to the sanitary sewer in ANY concentration. These wastes must be collected and managed as hazardous waste.
- Raw Chemical Waste.
Unused, pure, or concentrated chemicals.
- Chlorinated Hydrocarbon Waste.
Chlorinated hydrocarbons are compounds that contain chlorine, hydrogen, and carbon. Examples of chlorinated hydrocarbons include but are not limited to:
- Methylene chloride
- Trichloromethane (chloroform)
- Vinyl chloride
- Chloropropanes, chlorobutanes, chlorobutenes:
- Chlorinated paraffins;
- Chlorinated pesticides
- Heptachlor epoxide
- Nucleus-chlorinated aromatic hydrocarbons
- Chlorinated biphenyls (including PCBs)
- Chlorinated naphthalenes
- Side-chain chlorinated aromatic hydrocarbons
- Chloromethyl benzene (benzyl chloride)
- Dichloromethyl benzene (benzal chloride)
- Trichloromethyl benzene (benzotrichloride).
- Chlorofluorcarbon Waste
- Brominated Hydrocarbon Waste
- Cyanide Waste.
Includes cyanide, cyanate (OCN-), and thiocyanate (SCN-) compounds.
- Potassium cyanide
- Sodium cyanide
- Hydrogen cyanide
- Zinc cyanide
- Copper cyanide
- Nickel cyanide.
- Heavy Metal Waste.
- Corrosive Waste.
Corrosive wastes are wastes that could cause corrosive structural damage to the sink/sewer piping. All wastes with a pH lower than 5.0 Standard Units (S.U.) or higher than 9.0 S.U. are considered corrosive wastes. Laboratories must not neutralize corrosive wastes to comply with this requirement unless it is part of a written protocol for the laboratory process generating the waste and the neutralization process is carried out by trained, qualified personnel.
- Solvent Waste.
Wastes containing any of the following solvents in any concentration:
Please note that acetone used to wash glassware falls into this category.
- Ethyl Ether
- n-Butyl Alcohol
- Carbon Disulfide
- Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK)
- Carbon Tetrachloride
- Methyl Isobutyl Ketone
- Cresylic Acid
- Ethyl Acetate
- Ethyl Benzene
- Oil and Grease Wastes.
Waste oils and grease, including vacuum pump oil, must be collected and managed as hazardous wastes. Wastes that are contaminated with oil or grease in concentrations greater than 50 mg/L must also be collected and managed as hazardous waste.
- Ignitable Wastes.
Ignitable wastes are: 1) Liquid wastes with a flashpoint less than 60 degrees C (140 degrees F); 2) Non-liquid wastes that are capable of causing fire through friction, reaction with moisture, or spontaneous chemical changes; 3) Ignitable compressed gases; or 4) Oxidizers. Ignitable wastes include most waste solvents found in laboratories, ignitable compressed gases such as hydrogen, and oxidizers such as nitrates/nitrites (sodium nitrate, potassium nitrite, etc.) and chlorates and perchlorates (magnesium perchlorate, etc.). Ignitable wastes include mixtures of ignitable chemicals with other materials if the mixture still exhibits the ignitability characteristic (i.e., flashpoint less than 60 degrees C).
- Reactive Wastes.
Reactive wastes: 1) Are normally unstable and readily undergo violent change; 2) React violently or form explosive mixtures with water; 3) Can generate toxic gases, vapors or fumes when mixed with water or exposed to extreme pH conditions; or 4) Are capable of detonation or explosive reaction under certain conditions. Common reactive wastes found in laboratories include certain cyanides, sulfides, and silanes or any mixtures of multiple wastes that exhibit reactivity characteristics.
- Solid or Viscous Wastes.
Solid or viscous wastes that may coat, clog, or otherwise cause obstruction to the flow of sewer pipes must never be discharged to the sewer. Examples of prohibited solid or viscous waste include sand, animal tissues, bones, plastics, rubber, glass, wood chips, wood shavings, plaster, paint, etc. in such quantity, concentration, or form that may cause interference with proper sewer flow. Depending on the nature of the waste, it may be discharged to the normal trash or collected and managed as hazardous waste.
- Nuisance Waste.
Wastes that may cause a discoloration or that may cause interference in the Metro wastewater treatment plant must not be discharged to the sewer. Wastes that are noxious or malodorous to the extent that a nuisance may be created at the Metro wastewater treatment plant or in other laboratories must not be discharged to the sewer.
- Untreatable Waste.
Wastes that contain any element or compound that cannot be adequately treated or removed by the Metro wastewater treatment plant (biological activated sludge treatment) and that is known to be an environmental hazard must not be discharged to the sewer.
- Hot Liquid or Vapor Wastes.
Liquid or vapor wastes with a temperature above 65.5 oC (150 oF) must not be discharged to the sewer.
- Ethidium Bromide and Acrylamide Waste.
Buffer solutions and other solutions containing ethidium bromide or acrylamide in any concentration and ethidium bromide and acrylamide gels.
- Priority Pollutant Wastes.
All wastes containing any of the following priority pollutant compounds in any concentration must be collected and managed as hazardous waste:
Acrylonitrile Benzene Bromoform Carbon tetrachloride Chlorobenzene Chlorodibromomethane Chloroethane 2-Chloroethylvinyl ether Chloroform Dichlorobromomethane Dichlorodifluoromethane 1,1-Dichloroethane 1,2-Dichloroethane 1,1-Dichloroethylene Dichloromethane 1,2-Dichloropropane 1,2-Dichloropropylene 1,3-Dichloropropylene 2,4-Dichloropropylene Ethylbenzene Methyl bromide Methyl chloride Methylene chloride 1,1,2,1-Tetrachloroethane 1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethane Tetrachloroethylene Tetrachloromethane Toluene Trans-dichloroethylene 1,2-Trans-dichloroethylene 1,1,1-Trichloroethane 1,1,2-Trichloroethane Trichloroethylene Trichlorofluoromethane Trichloromethane Vinyl chloride
Acenaphthene Acenaphthylene Anthracene Benzidine Benzo(a)anthracene Benzo(a)pyrene 3,4-Benzofluoranthene Benzo(ghi)perylene Benzo(b)fluoranthene Benzo(k)fluoranthene Bis(2-chloroethoxy)methane Bis(2-chloroethyl)ether Bis(2-chloroisopropyl)ether Bis(2-chloromethyl)ether Bis (2-ethylhexyl)phthalate 4-Bromophenyl phenyl ether Butylbenzyl phthalate 2-Chloronaphthalene 4-Chlorophenyl phenyl ether Chrysene Dibenzo(a,h)anthracene 1,2-Dichlorobenzene 1,3-Dichlorobenzene 1,4-Dichlorobenzene 3,3'-Dichlorobenzidine Di-n-ethyl phthalate Diethyl phthalate Di-c-methyl phthalate Dimethyl phthalate Di-n-butyl phthalate 2,4-Dinitrotoluene 2,6-Dinitrotoluene Di-n-octyl phthalate 1,2-Diphenylhydrazine Fluroranthene Fluorene Hexachlorobenzene Hexachlorobutadiene Hexachlorocyclopentadiene Hexachloroethane Indeno(1,2,3-cd)pyrene Naphthalene Nitrobenzene N-nitrosodimethylamine N-nitrosodi-n-propylamine N-nitrosodiphenylamine Phenanthrene Pyrene 1,2,4-Trichlorobenzene
Acrolein Aldrin BHC, alpha BHC, beta BHC, delta BHC, gamma Chlordane 4,4'-DDT 4,4'-DDE 4,4'-DDD Dieldrin Endosulfan, alpha Endosulfan, beta Endosulfan sulfate Endrin Endrin aldehyde Heptachlor Heptachlor epoxide Isophorone PCB-1016 PCB-1221 PCB-1232 PCB-1242 PCB-1248 PCB-1254 PCB-1260 TCDD (Dioxin) Toxaphene
- Inorganics, Metals, Phenols, and Cresols
Antimony Arsenic Asbestos Beryllium Cadmium Chromium Copper Lead Mercury Nickel Selenium Silver Thallium Zinc Cyanide 2-Chlorophenol Cresols 2,4-Dichlorophenol 2,4-Dimethylphenol 4,6-Dinitro-o-cresol 2,4-Dinitrophenol 2-Nitrophenol 4-Nitrophenol P-chloro-m-cresol Pentachlorophenol Phenols 2,4,6-Trichlorophenol
Empty containers that are being rinsed should be triple rinsed with a minimal amount of liquid and the rinseate collected and managed as hazardous waste, if the container held any of the wastes described above in Sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 8. Subsequent rinses may be discharged to the sewer. Depending on the waste, fewer rinses may be required to be collected. Contact OCRS for evaluation of specific waste containers. Rinseate from empty containers that held other types of waste may be discharged to the sewer if the rinseate does not exhibit the hazardous characteristic of the waste (for example, rinseate from a container that held ignitable waste may be sewer disposed if the rinseate is not ignitable).
Wastes with limited sink/sewer disposal
- Radioactive Wastes.
A radioactive waste that is water soluble or readily dispersible in water and not prohibited from sewer disposal based on the criteria described in the previous section may be disposed via the sanitary sewer system. The disposal limit is 200 μCi per laboratory per day. Records of sewer disposal must be maintained on the Radioactive Sink Disposal Log.
- Biological Materials.
Biological waste must not be discharged to the sewer unless it has been properly treated. Please refer to Proper Disposal of Biological Waste in the Guide to Biosafety at Vanderbilt for biological waste disposal policies and procedures (OCRS website). Biological waste intended for sewer disposal must not be prohibited from sewer disposal based on the criteria described in the previous section.
- Specific Organic Chemicals in Concentrations of One Percent or Less.
Organic chemicals suitable for sink/sewer disposal are described below. Only those organic compounds that are reasonably soluble in water are suitable for sink/sewer disposal. A compound is considered water soluble if it dissolves to the extent of at least three percent. Chemicals listed below must be in concentrations of approximately one percent or less to be suitable for sink/sewer disposal. If the total volume of waste to be disposed is greater than four liters per day, approval by OCRS is required. Sewer discharges of these chemicals must not be prohibited in the previous section. Any chemicals that fall into categories described below but are specifically prohibited from sink/sewer disposal in the previous section must NOT be discharged to the sewer.
- Alkanols with 4 or fewer carbon atoms.
- Ethanol 1-Propanol
- Alkanediols with 7 or fewer carbon atoms.
- Butanediol and isomers
- Butylene glycol
- Ethylene glycol
- Heptamethylene glycol
- Heptanediol and isomers
- Hexanediol and isomers
- Hexylene glycol
- Pentanediol and isomers
- Pentylene glycol
- Propylene glycol
- Sugars and sugar alcohols (polyols).
- Alkoxyalkanols with 6 or fewer carbon atoms.
- Aliphatic aldehydes with 4 or fewer carbon atoms.
- Butyraldehyde (butanal)
- Propionaldehyde (propanal)
- RCONH2 and RCONHR with 4 or fewer carbon atoms and RCONR2 with 10 or fewer carbon atoms.
- N,N-Diethyl formamide
- N,N-Dimethyl acetamide
- N,N-Dimethyl propionamide
- N-Ethyl acetamide
- N-Ethyl formamide
- N-Methyl acetamide
- N-Methyl formamide
- N-Methyl propionamide
- Aliphatic amines with 6 or fewer carbon atoms.
- Aliphatic diamines with 6 or fewer carbon atoms.
- Ethylene diamine
- Hexamethylene diamine and isomers
- Pentamethylenediamine and isomers
- Alkanoic acids with 5 or fewer carbon atoms and the ammonium, sodium, and potassium salts of these acids with 20 or fewer carbon atoms.
- Acetic acid
- Butyric acid
- Formic acid
- Isobutyric acid
- Isovaleric acid
- Propionic acid
- Valeric acid
- Alkanedioic acids with 5 or fewer carbon atoms and the ammonium, sodium, and potassium salts of these acids with 20 or fewer carbon atoms.
- Fumaric acid
- Glutaric acid (1,5-pentanedioic acid)
- Malic acid
- Malonic acid (1,3-propanedioic acid)
- Oxalic acid (1,2-ethanedioic acid)
- Succinic acid (1,4-butanedioic acid)
- Tartaric acid
- Hydroxyalkanoic acids with 5 or fewer carbon atoms and the ammonium, sodium, and potassium salts of these acids with 20 or fewer carbon atoms.
- Glycolic acid
- 3-Hydroxybutyric acid
- 2-Hydroxyisobutyric acid
- Lactic acid (2-hydroxypropanoic acid)
- Aminoalkanoic acids with 6 or fewer carbon atoms and the ammonium, sodium, and potassium salts of these acids with 20 or fewer carbon atoms.
- 3-Amino butyric acid
- 4-Amino butyric acid
- Amino isobutyric acid
- 5-Amino pentanoic acid and isomers
- 3-Amino propanoic acid
- Esters with 4 or fewer carbon atoms.
- Ethyl formate
- Isopropyl acetate
- Isopropyl formate
- Methyl acetate
- Methyl formate
- Methyl propionate
- Propyl formate
- Sulfonic acids and sodium and potassium salts of the acids.
- Methane sulfonic acid
- Ethane sulfonic acid
- 1-Propane sulfonic acid
- 1-Butane sulfonic acid
- 1-Pentane sulfonic acid
- 1-Hexane sulfonic acid
- 1-Heptane sulfonic acid
- 1-Octane sulfonic acid
- 1-Decane sulfonic acid
- 1-Dodecane sulfonic acid
- 1-Tetradecane sulfonic acid
- 1-Hexadecane sulfonic acid
- Alkanols with 4 or fewer carbon atoms.
- Specific Inorganic Chemicals in Concentrations of One Percent or Less.
Inorganic chemicals suitable for sink/sewer disposal are described below. Only those inorganic compounds that are reasonably soluble in water are suitable for sink/sewer disposal. A compound is considered water soluble if it dissolves to the extent of at least three percent. Chemicals listed below must be in concentrations of approximately one percent or less to be suitable for sink/sewer disposal. If the total volume of waste to be disposed is greater than four liters per day, approval by OCRS is required. Sewer discharges of these chemicals must not be prohibited in the previous section. Any chemicals that fall into categories described below but are specifically prohibited from sink/sewer disposal in the previous section must NOT be discharged to the sewer.
Inorganic salts cations and anions:
Cations Anions Aluminum, Al3+ Borate, BO33-, B4O72- Ammonium, NH4+ Bromide, Br- Calcium, Ca2+ Carbonate, CO32- Cesium, Cs+ Chloride, Cl- Hydrogen, H+ Bisulfite, HSO3- Lithium, Li+ Hydroxide, OH- Magnesium, Mg2+ Oxide, O2- Potassium, K+ Iodide, I- Sodium, Na+ Nitrate, NO3- Strontium, Sr2+ Phosphate, PO43- Tin, Sn2+ Sulfate, SO42- Titanium, Ti3+, Ti4+ Zirconium, Zr2+
- Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) Rule 0400-12-01.
- Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County Code of Laws Title 15.60.
- Prudent Practices for Handling Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1981.
- Prudent Practices for Disposal of Chemicals from Laboratories, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1983.
- Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Disposal of Chemicals , National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1995.
Summary of specific chemicals forbidden from sewer disposal
The following chemicals must not be discharged to the sanitary sewer in any concentration. This list contains examples of specific chemicals and does NOT include all chemicals that are forbidden from sewer disposal. For more information on whether a chemical not listed below can be discharged to the sewer, refer to the detailed sections in this guide or contact OCRS.
|BHC, beta||BHC, delta|
|BHC, gamma||Bis (2-ethylhexyl)phthalate|
|Bromomethane||4-Bromophenyl phenyl ether|
|Carbon Disulfide||Carbon Tetrachloride|
|Chlorinated biphenyls (including PCBs)||Chlorinated naphthalenes|
|Chloromethyl benzene (benzyl chloride)||2-Chloronaphthalene|
|2-Chlorophenol||4-Chlorophenyl phenyl ether|
|Dichloromethane||Dichloromethyl benzene (benzal chloride)|
|Di-n-butyl phthalate||Di-n-ethyl phthalate|
|Endosulfan sulfate||Endosulfan, alpha|
|Endrin aldehyde||Ethidium Bromide|
|Ethyl Benzene||Ethyl Ether|
|Methyl chloride||Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK)|
|Methyl Isobutyl Ketone||Methylene chloride|
|Sodium cyanide||TCDD (Dioxin)|
|Trichloromethyl benzene (benzotrichloride)||2,4,5-Trichlorophenol|
Summary of specific chemicals with limited sewer disposal
The following chemicals may be discharged to the sewer in concentrations of approximately one percent or less. If the percentage is greater than one percent, approval by OCRS is required. If the total volume of waste to be disposed is greater than four liters per day, approval by OCRS is required. Sewer discharges of these chemicals must not be prohibited for any other reason. Specifically, solutions containing these chemicals must not also contain chemicals specifically forbidden from sewer disposal. This list contains examples of specific chemicals and does NOT include all chemicals with limited discharge to the sewer. For more information on whether a chemical not listed below can be discharged to the sewer, refer to the detailed sections in this guide or contact OCRS.
|3-Amino butyric acid||4-Amino butyric acid|
|Amino isobutyric acid||5-Amino pentanoic acid and isomers|
|3-Amino propanoic acid||Amylamine|
|Butanamide||Butanediol and isomers|
|1-Butane sulfonic acid||2-Butanol|
|Butylene glycol||Butyraldehyde (butanal)|
|Butyronitrile||1-Decane sulfonic acid|
|Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO)||Dithioerythritol|
|Dithiothreitol||1-Dodecane sulfonic acid|
|Erythritol||Ethane sulfonic acid|
|Ethylene diamine||Ethylene glycol|
|Glutaric acid (1,5-pentanedioic acid)||Glycerol|
|Glycolic acid||Heptamethylene glycol|
|Heptanediol and isomers||1-Heptane sulfonic acid|
|1-Hexadecane sulfonic acid||Hexamethylene diamine and isomers|
|1-Hexane sulfonic acid||Hexanediol and isomers|
|3-Hydroxybutyric acid||2-Hydroxyisobutyric acid|
|Isobutyric acid||Isopropyl acetate|
|Isovaleric acid||Lactic acid (2-hydroxypropanoic acid)|
|Malonic acid (1,3-propanedioic acid)||Maltitol|
|Mannitol||Methane sulfonic acid|
|Methyl formate||Methyl propionate|
|N,N-Dimethyl acetamide||N,N-Dimethyl propionamide|
|N-Ethyl acetamide||N-Ethyl formamide|
|N-Methyl acetamide||N-Methyl formamide|
|1-Octane sulfonic acid||Oxalic acid (1,2-ethanedioic acid)|
|Pentamethylenediamine and isomers||Pentanediol and isomers|
|1-Pentane sulfonic acid||Pentylene glycol|
|1,3-Propanediamine||1-Propane sulfonic acid|
|Propyl formate||Propylene glycol|
|Sorbitol||Succinic acid (1,4-butanedioic acid)|
|1-Tetradecane sulfonic acid||Triethylenediamine|