What is a hazardous substance?
Chemicals are part of everyday life. They are a necessary part of your job as well. Every product used has an intended purpose, however also has the potential to contain hazardous substances, and should be managed as such. Many of the substances encountered everyday may not seem like dangerous chemicals, but some have hazardous or toxic properties. Although these products are used on a daily basis throughout the District, you may not be aware of the dangers. It is important to understand which products are hazardous because special consideration must be given to the storage, handling and disposal of the products. These products can range from custodial cleaning supplies, art supplies, science and chemistry supplies, solvents and paints, to boiler water treatment solutions. A substance can exhibit many different hazardous properties, which can include:
- Corrosives - acid or alkaline
- Flammable and combustible
- Reactive - air or water
- Carcinogen - causes cancer
- Mutagen/Teratogen - causes reproductive abnormalities
- Environmental contaminants - contaminates environment
What is a hazardous waste?
The definition of a hazardous waste is a solid, liquid, or contained gaseous material that is no longer used or no longer serves the purpose for which it was produced, and could pose dangers to human health and the environment after it is discarded. This definition is far-reaching and causes many products to become regulated hazardous waste. Some examples include:
- Batteries - lead/acid and nickel/cadmium
- Old fuels - gasoline, kerosene, diesel
- Lab specimens - from science areas
- Lab chemicals and by-products from science experiments
- Cleaning products
- Swimming pool chemicals
- Paints, stains, varnishes, shellacs, sealers
- Solvents, thinners, strippers, preservatives
- Glues and adhesives
- Water treatment solutions
- Pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides
- Biohazardous waste - blood borne pathogens cleanup
- Radioactive waste - exit signs and smoke detectors
How are hazardous materials and waste regulated?
Hazardous materials are monitored by many Federal and State regulations, these include: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA), Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, Liability Act (CERCLA), Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA), Uniform Fire Code (UFC), Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).
Where can information be found about the hazards of a product?
The best sources of information are the product label and the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS).
How does the District manage hazardous waste?
The District collects, consolidates and properly disposes of all hazardous waste. Depending on the waste involved, the waste is recycled, taken to landfills or incinerated. It is important to point out that when managed properly, hazardous materials are safe to use and store. It is when they are thrown in the trash or mishandled that they have a potential of becoming a serious human health and environmental hazard.
What NOT TO DO!!
- Do not throw away a hazardous material.
- Do not puncture aerosol cans
What TO DO !!
- Always use proper protection when handling hazardous materials.
- Keep storage areas neat and clean.
- Call the Environmental Compliance Office at 303-367-3000, ext. 28682 for disposal assistance or pickup.
Questions or Concerns
If you ever have any questions or concerns about hazardous materials disposal, please call the Environmental Compliance Branch 303-367-3000 ext 28682 during normal business hours. If you have an emergency, please call Facilities Security at 367-3060 any time.