Update: Identification of Bulk Liquid Chemical Waste

The Office of Environmental Health & Safety (OEHS) collects waste chemicals from all University laboratories. Laboratories that generate considerable quantities of liquid waste may collect their waste in 19 liter (5 gallon) polyethylene carboys supplied by OEHS. The caps on the 19 liter carboys must be securely closed at all times except when adding waste.

In the interest of public safety, OEHS recently updated the University's mixed chemical identification procedures. Effective immediately, laboratory staff must attach color coded tags to the handles of the 19 liter carboys used for chemical waste. These tags will help in assuring that wastes are not inappropriately mixed. The tags will also help emergency responders identify large quantities of chemicals quickly.

The tags do not replace the current adhesive green chemical waste labels. The green labels serve to identify the specific contents in the carboy. Colored tags must be used in addition to the labels.

Prior to using the 19 liter carboy, attach the appropriate colored tag to the handle of the 19 liter carboy as follows:

Category Tag Color Description Common Examples
Halogenated solvents Green · any liquid mixture containing halogens
· no acids
· chloroform & methylene chloride
Nonhalogenated solvents Pink · any flammable nonhalogenated solvent
· no acids
· < 15% water
· xylene, hexane, acetone & methanol
Aqueous solutions Blue · solvents with > 15% water
· no halogenated liquid mixtures
· no acids
· acetonitrile & water
· acetone & water
· methanol & water
Petroleum oil Tan · various petroleum oils (stored separately) · pump oil, lube oil, etc.
Miscellaneous solutions White · solutions which generally do not fit into the previous four categories
· store each solution category in a container
· refer to common examples
· formalin or;
· phenol/chloroform or;
· acids or;
· bases or;
· ethidium bromide

Colored tags are available at OEHS at 1408 Blockley Hall or can be requested by phone (898-4453) or e-mail (oehs@oehs.upenn.edu).


Volume 43 Number 14
December 3, 1996

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