- Waste Preparation
Since the RSO will be transporting the radioactive waste by motorized vehicle, certain transportation regulations apply. The packaging requirements below must be strictly followed.
Solid waste: This waste must be packaged in the bag-lined radwaste boxes provided by the RSO. Both 1 cubic foot and 2 cubic foot boxes are available from the RSO. When scheduling a pick-up, lab personnel must specify which type of box the RSO will be picking up and which type is requested as a replacement. When these containers are filled, the bag must be sealed (i.e. taped/tied closed) and the lid closed. Specific requirements with respect to this type of waste are provided below:
- Stock vials from vendors, including those still containing radioactivity, should be placed inside a fullwaste container. If such stock vials contain greater than 10 mCi, contact the RSO for further instructions.
- Contaminated lead must be delivered by lab personnel to the RSO. Prior arrangements should be made before delivery. As a reminder, lead that has been appropriately surveyed (i.e., GM meter survey and wipe test) and does not show any evidence of contamination may be disposed through Environmental Health and Safety. If there is any doubt with respect to contamination, the lead should be brought to the RSO for evaluation.
- The moisture content in the waste must be minimized. Measurable amounts of liquid from containers, such as test tubes, must be decanted into an appropriate liquid radwaste container.
- Sharps (e.g., hypodermic needles, Pasteur pipettes) that may puncture the waste box should be placed in a small box prior to adding them to the solid waste container.
- All radiation propeller symbols and "radioactive" wording must be defaced on all solid waste with half-lives less than 61 days (e.g., 32P, 125I, 51Cr, 33P, etc.) prior to placing the waste in the appropriate box.
- Any waste containing biohazards must be rendered biologically harmless (e.g., through autoclaving) prior to pick-up by the RSO.
Liquid waste: One gallon liquid containers are provided by the RSO. There should be no writing directly on these bottles since they will be used by other labs in the future. If an individual wishes to label the container with the specific radionuclide being disposed in that container, a piece of tape may be attached to the bottle. This tape should be removed prior to pick-up by the RSO. Please note that containers larger than those provided by the RSO (e.g., 5 gallon carboys) will be collected at the time of pick-up, but no replacement will be provided. The PH's name and lab phone number should be written on this type of container, and the RSO will notify the lab when the container contents have been disposed. At that time, the lab is responsible for picking up their container from the RSO. Lab personnel should be aware that if the activity is too high or if sewer disposal limits have been met at the time of processing the waste, the liquid may be held for decay or until the next day of processing. Therefore, additional containers should be kept on hand, if desired. Specific requirements with respect to preparing liquid waste are provided below:
- Aqueous liquid radwaste should be placed in a separate container from organic waste or waste that is not miscible/dispersible in water.
- Organic waste may be placed in glass containers that have been previously approved by the RSO if the material will degrade the standard 1 gallon containers provided by the RSO. These containers should be loosely capped during storage to prevent pressure buildup. On the day of the pick-up, the cap should be tightened.
- No solid items, such as pipette tips, may be disposed in the liquid radwaste containers.
- Any liquid that contains biohazardous material or that may generate noxious fumes due to bacterial action must be chemically treated (e.g., by adding bleach).
- If possible, all aqueous liquid radwaste should be neutralized to a pH of 7.
- If any liquid is noticed on the outside of the containers, they will not be picked up.
- All liquid containers should be approximately three quarters full. If the liquid waste generated is of high activity (greater than 1 mCi) but low volume (less than 3/4 of a gallon), it may be diluted with water. However, if the liquid waste is not water-based (e.g., organic liquid), this should not be done. In these instances, the RSO should be contacted for guidance.
Scintillation vials: Radioactive scintillation vials must be placed in a double-lined (2 liners) small waste box (i.e., 1 foot box). However, if only a handful of radioactive vials are generated at a time (e.g., "hot" vials from wipe surveys), they may be added to the appropriate solid waste container. All nonradioactive vials should be disposed either in the normal trash (for biodegradable fluid) or through Environmental Health and Safety (for organic fluid).
Biological waste: Arrangements must be made by lab personnel to deliver all biological waste (i.e., animals) to the RSO. This waste will not be picked up by the RSO. Animal carcasses must be packaged separately from bedding and/or other material such as surgical sponges. If leakage of fluids is possible, the outer wrapping must be plastic (e.g., garbage bag). Any animal bedding or other contaminated materials should be placed in a separate paper bag. These bags should be taped closed prior to delivery to the RSO.
*Note: Animal carcasses containing < 0.05 mCi/gm of 3H and/or 14C should be packaged separately from carcasses containing 3H and/or 14C in excess of these limits or other radionuclides.
A waste identification tag, provided by the RSO, must be completed and attached to each individual container prior to pick-up. The activity on the tag (mCi or mCi) should be a close approximation to the true activity in the waste, accounting for decay if applicable. No waste should be added after the container has been closed, tagged, and called for pick-up. The adhesive tab should be wrapped around the handle of all liquid containers, while both adhesive ends should be attached to the top of the boxes.
An A-9 Waste Pickup Request Form must be completed by the lab and submitted to the RSO to request a pick-up. The "Disposal Activity" is the activity that should be subtracted from the Permit Holder's inventory to reflect the current inventory "balance" (i.e., do not account for decay). A wipe survey must be performed on the outside of all packages. A single wipe may be used for all containers provided that the counting instrument and the channels selected will detect the presence of contamination for all radionuclides in the waste. Prior to pick-up, the shipping paper must be placed with the waste containers.
- Requesting a Pick-up
Prior to requesting a pick-up, lab personnel should verify that all waste containers are closed and tagged appropriately. Next, lab personnel should complete the A-9 Waste Pick-up Request Form. The request may then be sent to the RSO via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), by fax (274-2332), or hand delivery in CL 159. Since a timely delivery by campus mail cannot be guaranteed, such requests will not be accepted.
Waste pickups can be requested any day of the month, regardless of what building your lab is in. However, pick-up commences only on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s from 8:30am to 10:30am, unless otherwise arranged with the RSO.
- RSO Pick-up
Since the pick-up process is one with time constraints, any questions should be discussed with the RSOprior to pick-up. All waste containers and appropriate paperwork should be in plain view in the lab. In addition, if the paperwork is not completed, the containers are not closed and tagged, more containers are present than expected, the wipe tests are not performed, etc., upon the arrival of the RSO, the waste will not be picked up. The lab will be notified, either verbally or in writing, as to the reason(s) for rejecting the waste. In these instances, the lab will be required to correct the problem(s) and reschedule for the next pick-up date.