Updike, Kelly & Spellacy, P.C.
April 17, 1998
Research and instructional activities at academic institutions are inherently different than those waste-generating operations in industrial facilities that have traditionally served as the model for the development of hazardous waste laws and regulations. Unlike typical industrial processes, which often produce large volumes of a relatively small variety of wastes, research and instructional activities commonly produce a wide variety of hazardous wastes in relatively small volumes, including new materials of unknown toxicity and hazard. In addition, the organizational structure and culture of academic institutions differ significantly from those typically existing in a manufacturing environment. For example, in an academic setting, each principal investigator is largely self-reliant, autonomous and operates quasi-independently. The research population, although highly skilled, is largely migratory in nature and generally not influenced by management incentives.
Yet, recent enforcement actions have dispelled any misconception that waste-generating activities in laboratories fall outside the scope of regulation under RCRA and thus have underscored the importance of properly managing hazardous waste generated in such a setting. Yale University, Boston University and Stanford University have each recently agreed to significant civil penalties, ranging from $69,000 to over $450,000 (exclusive of SEP costs ranging from $279,000 to $518,000), in negotiated settlement agreements with the EPA (and California EPA) for alleged violations relating to such things as open or damaged containers, improperly labeled containers and inadequate personnel training. Reportedly, EPA continues to consider universities to be "fertile ground" for future RCRA enforcement actions.
It is therefore imperative for academic institutions to implement a hazardous waste management system that is clear, consistent with all applicable legal requirements, and both feasible and cost-effective in achieving environmental health and safety objectives. An effective system for an academic institution must address, among other things, three major issues: (1) waste management at the point of generation (i.e., in the laboratories); (2) movement of waste from the point of generation to a "central" accumulation or storage area; and (3) the management of waste during storage at the central accumulation area.
I.Centralized Versus Decentralized Waste Management
A centralized waste management scheme involves the establishment of a limited number of waste storage locations at which waste can be consolidated, typically for shipment off-site. Such a management scheme has distinct advantages over one that is decentralized, comprised of multiple storage locations often located in occupied campus buildings. To the extent that a facility transected by public roads can be considered to be contiguous, the benefits of a centralized approach to waste management include:
- increased accountability and control of waste through aggregation of waste volumes;
- enhanced waste minimization through redistribution, recycling, distillation and bulking; and
- reduction in administrative costs associated with multiple EPA I.D. numbers and burdensome manifesting requirements.
A.Satellite Accumulation Areas
A generator may accumulate as much as 55 gallons of hazardous waste or one quart of acutely hazardous waste listed in Paragraph 261.33(e) in containers at or near any point of generation where wastes initially accumulate, which is under the control of the operator of the process generating the waste, without a permit or interim status and without complying with Paragraph 262.34(a) provided that the generator:
(1) complies with Paragraph 265.171 (condition of containers), 265.172 (compatibility of waste with container) and 265.173(a) (management of containers); and
(2) Marks the accumulation containers either with the words "Hazardous Waste" or with other words that identify the contents of the containers.
Note: Contingency plans and personnel training are NOT required. See 49 Fed. Reg. 49569 (Dec.20, 1984).
Example: EPA did not limit the number of satellite areas at a generator's facility nor specify the size of containers to be used for accumulation. The sole example of a situation that does NOT fall within the scope of Paragraph 262.34(c)(1) is that where a generator places a row of full 55-gallon drums spaced 5 feet apart along a factory wall. See 49 Fed. Reg. 49569 (Dec.20, 1984).
B. Less-than 90 day Storage Areas
A generator may accumulate hazardous waste on-site for 90 days or less without having a permit or without having interim status, provided that:
(1) The waste is placed:
(i) in containers (and the generator complies with Subparts I, AA, BB and CC of 40 C.F.R. Part 265); and/or
(ii) in tanks (and the generator complies with Subparts J, AA, BB and CC of 40 C.F.R. Part 265);
(2) The date upon which each period of accumulation begins is clearly marked and visible for inspection on each container;
(3) While being accumulated on-site, each container and tank is labeled or marked clearly with the words "Hazardous Waste"; and
(4) The generator complies with the requirements for owners and operators in Subparts C (preparedness and prevention) and D (contingency plan and emergency procedures) in 40 C.F.R. Part 265, with Paragraph 265.16 (personnel training) and 40 C.F.R. Paragraph 268.7(a)(4) (waste analysis and recordkeeping).
On-site means the same or geographically contiguous property which may be divided by public or private right-of-way, provided that the entrance and exit between the properties is at a cross-roads intersection, and access is by crossing as opposed to going along, the right-of-way. Non-contiguous properties owned by the same person but connected by a right-of-way which he controls and to which the public has access, is also considered on-site property.
Sept.1983 OSWR No.9451.1983(02)
"Many university campuses are divided by public roads or other rights-of-way which they do not control. Metropolitan campuses are frequently constructed on a number of adjoining city blocks where the various campus buildings are separated by city streets but the buildings may be connected by tunnels or overhead walkways. Even in these cases, each generation site (i.e., each city block or each half of a campus bisected by a public road) would be a generator (or small quantity generator) and assigned its own EPA I.D. number.
Hazardous wastes being shipped from one campus building (i.e., generator) to another building (i.e., TSDF) where the sites are divided by a highway would need a manifest while on the highway. The one exception is when the waste is shipped directly across the road. In this case, the receiving building is considered "on-site," as defined in 40 C.F.R. 260.10 even though both sites are required to have separate EPA I.D. numbers.
NOTE: The definition of "on-site" is intended to be used only in determining whether or not a generator should initiate a manifest. It does not define two buildings owned and/or operated by the same person but divided by a highway as one generator site)."
Memorandum from James H. Scarbrough, Chief, RCRA Branch, Waste Management Division, Region IV, to RCRA Branch Personnel and Region IV State Directors, dated Dec.12, 1989.
"Since most [educational] facilities are comprised of separate buildings divided by roads to which the public has access, a strict literal interpretation of the regulations would require them to comply with 40 C.F.R. Parts 262 and 263 for sites where more than 100 kg/mo of hazardous waste is generated. This would mean that each such location would need an individual EPA I.D. number, and a central accumulation area would require a RCRA permit for storage.
This seems somewhat burdensome and inappropriate since all the points of generation at such facilities are owned and operated by one entity. In fact, definitions of the terms generator, individual generation site, and on-site in 40 C.F.R. Part 260.10 indicate that a geographically contiguous property owned by a generator is considered one site, even if divided by public or private right-of-ways. Therefore, it appears that a generator is only required to get one I.D. number for contiguous pieces of property.
Indeed, it is conceivable that such a facility could move their hazardous waste from one part of the property to another across these public roads until they reached the desired accumulation area, and be in compliance with the letter of the law. However, this would be impractical and probably more of an environmental hazard than transporting the waste over the roads.
Consequently, I have concluded that such entities, comprised of geographically contiguous property, will be treated as one site, requiring only one EPA I.D. number. Such facilities may move hazardous waste from a point of generation to a central accumulation/storage area without manifesting the waste, and such an area would not require a RCRA storage permit unless the waste is stored for longer than the applicable time limit specified in 40 C.F.R. Part 262.34. However, it should be noted that where a site is not part of the geographically contiguous property, a separate EPA I.D. number is required and all applicable parts of 40 C.F.R. Parts 262 and 263 must be complied with, even though all properties are owned and operated by the same entity."
Accord Memorandum from Sharon R. Travis, Enforcement Program Section, Region V, to William E. Muno, Chief, RCRA Enforcement Branch, dated December 14, 1989, re: University of Wisconsin.
Regulatory Opinion from Michael Shapiro, Director, Office of Solid Waste, to The Honorable Tim Johnson, House of Representatives, dated Nov. 4, 1994.
"Many universities are divided by public roads or other right-of-ways that they do not control. If the entry and exist between two parts of a campus are directly across from each other, or across the junction of two crossroads, they are considered geographically contiguous. However, if a person must travel along a public road to go from one part of a campus to another, the sites are considered non-contiguous.
A metropolitan campus may be constructed on a number of city blocks, creating a situation where campus buildings are separated by city streets and it is necessary to travel along public streets to go from one part of the campus to another. In these cases, each generation site (e.g., each city block or each part of campus) must be assigned its own EPA identification number and hazardous wastes transported from one site to another must be accompanied by a manifest. This includes hazardous waste transported from one campus building to another building where the buildings are divided by a public street. This requirement was established to ensure that hazardous wastes transported along public highways are properly described on a manifest so that they can be identified in the case of an emergency.
Proposed Definition (60 Fed. Reg. 56468 (Nov. 8, 1995)):
On-site means the same or geographically contiguous property which may be divided by public or private right-of-way, provided that the entrance and exit between the properties is at a cross-roads intersection, and access is by crossing as opposed to going along, the right-of-way. On-site also includes contiguous property comprised of an individual generation site and/or facility under the control of the same person, regardless of whether access is by crossing, as opposed to going along, the right-of-way. Non-contiguous properties owned by the same person but connected by a right-of-way which he controls and to which the public has access, is also considered on-site property.
Benefits (as per EPA):
- encourage consolidation of waste, which should result in greater control by generator;
- allow generators to place storage sites in remotely located areas; and
- increase flexibility to determine where consolidation areas will be situated
Note: The proposal, which would have expanded the definition of "on-site" to allow transportation without a manifest between contiguous properties controlled by the same person regardless of how access is gained from one parcel to another when such contiguous property is cut by a public or private right-of-way, was adopted by EPA.
Instead, as part of the Military Munitions Rule, EPA amended 40 C.F.R. Paragraph 262.20 as follows:
(f) The requirements of [Subpart B of Part 262-- "The Manifest"] and Paragraph 262.32(b) do not apply to the transport of hazardous wastes on a public or private right-of-way within or along the border of contiguous property under the control of the same person, even if such contiguous property is divided by a public or private right-of-way. Notwithstanding 40 CFR Paragraph 263.10(a), the generator or transporter must comply with the requirements for transporters set forth in 40 CFR 263.30 and 263.31 in the event of a discharge of hazardous waste on a public or private right-of-way.
This amendment became effective on August 12, 1997.
II. Treatment In Accumulation Containers
Treatment of waste in accumulation tanks or containers is permissible under the existing rules, provided that all applicable requirements under Paragraph 262.34 and Subparts I (use and management of containers) or J (tank systems) of Part 265 are met. Thus, for generators managing waste in a 90-day storage area, the following standards apply:
- storage/treatment must not exceed 90 days;
- containers must be managed in accordance with Subpart I standards:
- container must be in "good" condition,
- container must be compatible with the waste stored therein,
- container must be kept closed during storage, except when adding or removing waste,
- container must not be handled in a manner that may cause rupture or leakage,
- containers holding incompatible wastes must be separated by means of a dike, berm, wall or other device, and
- containers must be managed in accordance with Subpart CC air emission standards;
- the date upon which each period of accumulation begins is clearly marked and visible for inspection on each container;
- while being accumulated on-site, each container and tank is labeled or marked clearly with the words "Hazardous Waste"; and
- the generator complies with the requirements for owners and operators in Subparts C preparedness and prevention) and D (contingency plan and emergency procedures) in 40 C.F.R. Part 265, with Paragraph 265.16 personnel training) and 40 C.F.R. Paragraph 268.7(a)(4) (waste analysis and recordkeeping).
Note: No federal policy exists as to whether treatment in accumulation containers may be conducted in satellite accumulation areas under Paragraph 262.34(c).
III. Personnel Training Requirements
There exists very little guidance as to either the specific type(s) of personnel training required pursuant to section 265.16 or which employees must receive the training. The most relevant, albeit somewhat dated, guidance is contained in two sources: (1) the RCRA Personnel Training Manual for Owners of Operators of Hazardous Waste Management Facilities (Sept. 1980) (hereinafter "RCRA Personnel Training Manual"); and (2) the Permit Applicant's Guidance for the General Facility Standards of 40 C.F.R. 264 (Oct.1983) (hereinafter "Permit Applicant's Guidance").
A. Regulatory Requirements
The regulatory requirements regarding personnel training, which are set forth at 40 C.F.R. Paragraph 265.16, provide that:
(a)(1) Facility personnel must successfully complete a program of classroom instruction or on-the-job training that teaches them to perform their duties in a way that ensures the facility's compliance with the requirements of 40 C.F.R. Part 265. The term "facility personnel" is defined as "all persons who work at, or oversee the operations of a hazardous waste facility, and whose actions or failure to act may result in noncompliance with the requirements of Parts 264 or 265 of this Chapter." 40 C.F.R. Paragraph 260.10.
(2) The program must be directed by a person trained in hazardous waste management procedures, and must include instruction that teaches facility personnel hazardous waste management procedures (including contingency plan implementation) relevant to the positions in which they are employed.
(3) At a minimum, the training program must be designed to ensure that facility personnel are able to respond effectively to emergencies by familiarizing them with emergency procedures, emergency equipment, and emergency systems, including, where applicable: (i) Procedures for using, inspecting, repairing, and replacing facility emergency and monitoring equipment; (ii) Key parameters for automatic waste feed cut-off systems; (iii) Communications or alarm systems; (iv) Response to fires or explosions; (v) Response to ground water contamination incidents; and (vi) Shutdown of operations. (b) Facility personnel must successfully complete the training program within six months after the date of their employment or assignment to a facility or to a new position at a facility, whichever is later. Employees hired after the effective date of these regulations must not work in unsupervised positions until they have completed the training requirements.
(c) Facility personnel must take part in an annual review of the initial training.
(d) The owner or operator must maintain the following documents and records at the facility:
(1) The job title for each position at the facility related to hazardous waste management, and the name of the employee filing each job;
(2) A written job description for each position listed under paragraph (d)(l) above. This description may be consistent in its degree of specificity with descriptions of other similar positions in the same company location or bargaining unit, but must include the requisite skill, education, or other qualifications, and duties of employees assigned to each position;
(3) A written description of the type and amount of both introductory and continuing training that will be given to each person filling a position listed under paragraph (d)(l) above;
(4) Records that document that the training or job experience required under paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) above has been given to, and completed by, facility personnel.
(e) Training records on current personnel must be kept until closure of the facility. Training records on former employees must be kept for at least three years from the date the employee last worked at the facility. Personnel training records may accompany personnel transferred within the same company.
B. Who Should Receive Training?
With respect to the issue of which employees should be trained, the RCRA Personnel Training Guidance Manual, which is directed primarily to treatment, storage and disposal facilities, provides, in pertinent part:
As regards routine day-to-day hazardous waste management operations, training should be administered to all responsible on-site supervisory personnel and to all persons handling, storing, treating and disposing of hazardous& waste. It is recommended that off-site personnel, especially those impacting on planning and site design and operational procedures, participate as well in the training programs.
Emergency response training should be conducted in accordance with the specific site contingency plan. Consequently, everyone having a role in the contingency plan should be trained in his or her specific duties per the contingency plan. It is anticipated that some minimum level of training in emergency response procedures should be administered to all persons who will be on site. In many cases this training will be limited to evacuation procedures. Some individuals, however, must necessarily be trained in specific activities, e.g., reporting of the event to the proper individuals and departments and implementation of mitigative measures, depending on the type and extent of emergency.
See RCRA Personnel Training Guidance Manual, Ch. 4, 4-1 - 4-2. Accordingly, to the extent that personnel other than Environmental Health and Safety professionals, are considered to be involved in routine day-to-day hazardous waste management activities, it is likely that the regulatory agency will require some degree of training to be administered to those individuals. Significantly, however, personnel training is required for individuals involved in hazardous waste management solely in satellite accumulation areas. See 49 Fed. Reg. 49569 (Dec.20, 1984). Nevertheless, it is advisable to provide to laboratory workers that training necessary to enable them to comply with the container management standards applicable to satellite accumulation areas. Such training, which can easily be combined with basic OSHA training, will enhance not only regulatory compliance but laboratory safety in general. C. Nature of Training
With respect to the issue of the specific type(s) of training that is required pursuant to section 265.16, six "training modules" identified in the RCRA Personnel Training Guidance Manual are "recommended" for inclusion in the training program: (1) training for personnel.safety; (2) release prevention and response; (3) decontamination procedures; (4) facility operation and maintenance; (5) high hazard operations; and (6) document maintenance. However, it is expressly acknowledged in both the RCRA Personnel Training Guidance Manual and the Permit Applicant's Guidance that the type of training required is dependent on a particular employee's "sphere of activity." It is futher acknowledged that training may be implemented in one of three ways, or a combination thereof: (1) formal training (e.g., attendance at and participation in an external course on hazardous waste management principles for a relatively long duration, i.e., two weeks or more at a time); (2) informal training (e.g., weekly on-site safety meetgs, seminars, etc. of relatively short duration, i.e., a few hours at a time); and (3) on-the-job training.
For example, it is stated in the Permit Applicant's Guidance that
It is required that the training programs be specific to the various positions performed at your facility. Training should be structured so that it parallels as realistically as possible the actual job in order that the "real world" activities are approximated as much as possible. Any training program must also take into account the educational level of the class.
It is not necessary for all facility personnel to be trained by attending a formal program. One approach would be to send only your supervisory personnel to formal, off-site training programs. In this way, they can acquire the appropriate training skills and then relay those skills to the remaining facility personnel by conducting more focused, on-the-job training sessions.
Choosing on-the-job training program options, as opposed to a formal training program, allows for more flexibility in your training programs. They can be designed to closely fit the individual needs of the employees' job requirements. A formal training program will be more general than a set of training programs designed for each of the positions at your facility, and thus may not cover all of the various job positions in the level of detail which is required by the regulation. All facility personnel, regardless of their position, must be familiarized with your facility's contingency plan so they will be able to respond effectively in an emergency situation (i.e., an evacuation due to the volatilization of spilled toxic wastes). In this case, the majority of employees will be responsible for vacating the premises in a predetermined manner, while other facility personnel (those who have been properly trained) will have higher levels of responsibility. Some may be responsible for containing the spill, informing local officials (i.e., police and fireman), or bringing out fire-fighting equipment.
See Permit Applicant's Guidance at 5-1 66.
The above approach is consistent with the RCRA Personnel Training Guidance Manual, which provides, in pertinent part:
Clearly, a training program which would provide the same level of instruction to all on-site personnel is neither workable nor desirable. For a given hazardous waste management facility, a relatively small number of individuals will be in supervisory and decision-making positions with a degree of authority and responsibility which warrants broad training in all aspects of hazardous waste management pertinent to their facility. This broad training must necessarily encompass all of the six [training modules discussed above] with the provision that the facility operation and maintenance operations module could be limited to only those hazardous waste management operations utilized at the individual's specific facility. The level of instruction which these management personnel receive should be reasonably comprehensive and should constitute a relatively detailed overview of all pertinent aspects of hazardous waste management. Other personnel, having more limited spheres of activity, responsibility and authorit could be trained at a level less comprehensive than that applicable to management personnel. Furthermore, depending on the specific position, training in one or more areas might not be necessary.
See RCRA Personnel Training Guidance Manual, Ch. 4, at 4-3.
IV. MIXED WASTE: CIVIL ENFORCEMENT POLICY EXTENDED ON INTERIM BASIS
On April 9, 1998, EPA issued an interim extension of its August 1991 policy on the civil enforcement of the storage prohibition under RCRA for facilities that generate "mixed waste," which is defined as waste that contains both a hazardous component regulated under Subtitle C of RCRA and a radioactive component consisting of source, special nuclear or byproduct material regulated under the Atomic Energy Act. The policy, extended until October 31, 1998, affects only those mixed wastes that are prohibited from land disposal under the RCRA land disposal restrictions and for which there exist no available options for treatment or disposal.1 The policy does not apply to those mixed wastes for which treatment technology and/or disposal capacity is currently available or becomes available during the effective period of the extension. For purposes of the policy statement, "available treatment technology and disposal capacity" means that a facility is commercially available to treat or dispose of a particular wastend the facility has either (1) a RCRA permit or interim status; (2) a research, development, and demonstration permit under 40 C.F.R. Paragraph 270.65; or (3) a land treatment permit under 40 C.F.R. Paragraph 270.63. EPA expects to determine by the October 31, 1998 expiration date whether a longer term extension of the policy is appropriate.
A. Scope of Policy
The policy provides, in pertinent part:
For mixed waste generators who are storing mixed wastes in an environmentally responsible manner as described in this policy where no viable treatment technology or disposal capacity exists or becomes available during this extension, EPA considers the violations of RCRA section 3004 ) involving relatively small volumes of waste to be reduced priorities among EPA's potential civil enforcement actions. Any enforcement activity arising from violations of section 3004Q) at these facilities will generally focus on determining whether these generators are managing their mixed wastes in an environmentally responsible manner and whether they are storing wastes for which treatment technology is commercially available (for example, most liquid mixed wastes). EPA's primary Section 30040) provides:
In the case of any hazardous waste which is prohibited from one or more methods of land disposal under this section (or under regulations promulgated by the Administrator under any provision of this section) the storage of such hazardous waste is prohibited unless such storage is solely for the purpose of the accumulation of such quantities of hazardous waste as are necessary to facilitate proper recovery, treatment or disposal.
42 U.S.C. Paragraph 6924. concern is with mixed waste generators that are not managing their stored mixed wastes in an environmentally responsible manner, especially those storing large quantities of mixed waste.
The policy is limited to mixed wastes generated during the term of the policy, and to existing inventories of mixed wastes already in storage. The policy does not cover other violations of RCRA storage requirements, such as the storage facility standards of Subparts I through L and DD of 40 C.F.R. Parts 264 permitted facility standards) or 265 (interim status facility standards), or their State equivalents. Significantly, the policy does not affect any requirement under RCRA to obtain a storage permit, which is generally required if mixed wastes are stored for greater than 90 days. Nor does the policy extend to potential criminal violations of RCRA, for which prosecutorial discretion rests solely with the United States Attorney General.
C. Environmentally Responsible Management
The policy states that, in order to demonstrate "environmentally responsible management" of mixed waste (and therefore be accorded a reduced civil enforcement priority), the facility owner/operator should, at a minimum, undertake the following steps:
- Assess inventory and compliance of storage areas
- Identify mixed wastes
- Develop a waste minimization plan
V. ENVIRONMENTAL SELF-AUDITS
One of the best methods of maximizing compliance and, consequently, minimizing potential liability, is to develop and implement an effective environmental self-audit program to identify and resolve problems before they become serious. In developing such an auditing program, the following elements should be considered:
- formal integration of environmental policies, standards, and procedures in the company's operating procedures;
- creation of a system for monitoring and reporting environmental problems and tracking the resolution of compliance problems that are detected;
- establishment of effective environmental training programs for corporate employees and managers;
- periodic reporting by managers;
- creation of incentives that reward employee compliance efforts;
- imposition of disciplinary sanctions on employees who violate environmental obligation; and
- continuing evaluation and upgrading of the self-auditing and compliance programs.
Notwithstanding the potential benefits of environmental auditing, it is not used as frequently as it should be, due, in part to governmental reluctance -- particularly at the federal level -- to formally protect the confidentiality of documents generated during the audit procedure. Accordingly, companies that implement an audit procedure must take affirmative steps to maximize the potential application of one or more of the recognized privileges -- i.e., the attorney-client privilege, the work product doctrine, or the self-evaluation privilege. In addition, companies that conduct audits must be prepared to take prompt action to correct any violations uncovered. The failure to do so may increase the risk that prosecutors may later attempt to use the audit documents to establish criminal liability.
EPA Final Policy Statement
On December 22, 1995, the EPA published a Final Policy Statement on environmental self-audits, which became effective on January 22, 1996. Under the policy, where violations are found through voluntary environmental audits and are promptly and expeditiously corrected, EPA will not seek gravity-based (i.e., non-economic benefit) penalties and will generally not recommend criminal prosecution against the regulated entity. In addition, EPA will reduce gravity-based penalties by 75% for violations that are voluntarily discovered, and are promptly disclosed and corrected, even if not found through a formal audit.
In order for a regulated entity to take advantage of the policy, the following nine conditions must be met:
- systematic discovery -- i.e., the violation must be discovered either through an environmental audit that is systematic, objective and periodic, or through a documented, systematic procedure that reflects due diligence in preventing, detecting and correcting violations;
- voluntary discovery -- i.e., the violation must have been identified voluntarily, and not through a monitoring, sampling or auditing procedure required by statute, regulation, permit, judicial or administrative order, or consent agreement;
- prompt disclosure -- i.e., the violation must be fully disclosed within 10 days of discovery;
- discovery and disclosure independent of government or third patty plaintiff;
- correction and remediation -- i.e., the violation must be corrected within 60 days;
- recurrence prevention;
- no repeat violations;
- other violations excluded -- i.e., penalty reductions are not available for violations that resulted in serious actual harm, or may have presented an imminent and substantial endangerment, to human health or the environment; and
Significantly, the Final Policy Statement reiterates EPA's opposition to the establishment of an evidentiary privilege for environmental audits.
In order to address the unique challenges of managing hazardous waste in an academic environment, it is imperative to attempt to provide a management system that is clear, consistent with all applicable legal requirements, and both feasible and cost-effective in achieving environmental health and safety objectives. A successful program will, in all likelihood, be the result of a cooperative effort between environmental professionals, administrators or managers and environmental attorneys, and should continually identify steps that research laboratories might take to (i) improve waste handling methods, (ii) reduce the volume of waste, (iii) increase awareness regarding proper waste management, and (iv) enhance communication among all relevant parties without compromising workplace safety and environmental protection.