Environmental Health & Safety
The purpose of the Fort Lewis College Hazardous Waste Management Plan is to inform faculty, staff, students and the community that the college is complying with environmental laws, rules and regulations governed by the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPH&E). This plan addresses the handling of hazardous wastes and universal wastes on campus.
This plan applies to all operations on campus, and each department has a responsibility to follow applicable sections of the plan. The intent is to protect employees, students or members of the community who may be exposed to hazardous waste, discharge, or spill situations under normal work conditions or during emergency situations.
By virtue of the small quantity of hazardous waste generated each month, Fort Lewis College operates as a Very Small Quantity Generator (VSQG). Emergency response requirements and training requirements are defined by the Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator (CESQG) status. While a written plan is not required for a VSQG, it is believed to be vitally important to the safety and health of the faculty, staff, students and the immediate community around Fort Lewis College. With the VSQG designation, Fort Lewis College still must comply with detailed and specific rules and regulations in how hazardous waste is handled and managed.
This plan is designed to minimize hazards to human health or the environment from fires, explosions or any unplanned release of hazardous waste to the air, soil or surface waters. The response sections should be initiated immediately whenever there is a fire, explosions or release of hazardous waste. Please refer to the CDPH&E’s Guidance Document for the Small Quantity Generator Self-Certification Checklist for more detailed information.
Fort Lewis College generates hazardous waste and universal waste on a continuing basis. Hazardous waste generated on campus from the Art, Biology, Chemistry and Geology Departments is stored in the Chemical Storage Building (#53) located between Escalante Hall and the Chapel. Occasionally hazardous materials are generated by the Student Life Center, Student Union and Housing Departments. These materials are also stored in the Chemical Storage Building. The Physical Plant generates used oil, antifreeze and solvent-containing shop towels which are handled by an outside contractor. A spill contingency plan is in effect for the gasoline and diesel storage tanks located at the Physical Plant. Universal wastes generated by the Physical Plant include mercury containing devices and equipment, lamps, batteries and aerosol cans. These materials are regulated by the CDPH&E, and are handled and disposed of according to law.
FLC encourages suggestions by our employees and students for improving our hazardous waste plan and continuing to maintain its effectiveness. It is hoped that clear understanding, safe behavior, and personal commitment and involvement with the plan will improve overall safety on campus regarding use and disposal of hazardous wastes.
The Fort Lewis College Police Department has 8oo MHz radios and cell phones to use in the event of an emergency.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is available for use. This includes half-mask respirators and appropriate filters, chemical splash goggles, face shields, latex and neoprene gloves, boots and clothing. Proper training is required before anyone uses PPE.
Chemical fume hoods are located in laboratories and the flow rates are checked on an annual basis by an outside contractor.
Decontamination is provided via emergency showers and emergency eyewashes located in the laboratories and other campus locations.
Fire alarm systems and fire extinguishers are inspected and tested on an annual basis. The Chemical Storage Building has its own self-contained extinguishing system.
Representatives of the Durango Fire Protection District last inspected the Chemical Storage Building in 2009. They are invited to inspect the facility at their convenience, and have been extended the offer to observe/participate in the annual chemical cleanout performed by a licensed hazardous waste contractor.
The following are the responsibilities of the Director of EH&S – also known as the Emergency Coordinator – in the event of a hazardous waste spill or discharge:
Employees working with hazardous waste must be trained to respond to spills in a safe and effective manner. Large spills require the following response:
The CSB is provided electrical and water service. As it is self-contained, there is little likelihood of a spill to a storm drain or to the ground surface. Normal operations involve only EH&S personnel processing hazardous waste. The building contains one emergency eyewash unit, a chemical hood for lab work, several flammable safety cabinets and two acid safety cabinets.
There is no phone service in the building so workers must carry cell phones while processing hazardous waste in the building. It is recommended that at least one door is propped open during work, serving both as a signal that work is in progress and to allow rapid access or egress during an emergency.
As the CSB is completely protected by a self-contained sump pit to collect any spilled materials, the use of dry absorbents is the preferred way of containing and managing a spill. If this were to happen, the clean-up material would be handled as hazardous waste. If a large enough quantity of hazardous material were to spill, or the containment capacity were to be exceeded, then the DFPD would be contacted and the Hazard Material Response (HazMat) Team would be utilized to control the spill and perform the clean-up.
All transport of hazardous waste on campus should be under the direct supervision of EH&S personnel. Secondary containers should be used as needed, and a 2-gallon spill clean-up kit used if necessary. As mentioned above, any material used in a clean-up will be regarded as hazardous waste.
In the event of a fire within the CSB, the portable extinguisher can be used for small fires. Larger fires require closing the doors, turning off the fan, and pulling the emergency fire suppression control located outside the North end of the building. DFPD must be called following these steps. DFPD current strategy for fighting a fire inside the CSB is to leave the building closed and use a water spray to continuously cool the building and knock down any large smoke plumes. After the fire is extinguished, the DFPD HazMat team could assist in cleanup, or a privately licensed HazMat contractor could be used if the situation is beyond the capabilities of campus personnel.
Proper hazardous waste management in the laboratories must include the following guidelines:
Additionally, chemicals are not to be discharged down laboratory sinks. This includes:
Hazardous wastes generated in the Physical Plant include certain automotive fluids, oil-based paint, painting solvents, pressurized aerosol cans, parts washer solvent and used oils. Containers holding these items should be provided secondary containment. When the container reaches 90% full, EH&S should be contacted to coordinate storage in the Chemical Storage Building and disposal via an approved hazardous waste disposal company.