Laboratory Incidents

Leaking chemical waste container

Description of the incident

DRS was contacted for assistance when a 20-liter container of waste HF in a fume hood was discovered to be leaking. Laboratory staff were able to neutralize the spill with sodium carbonate. Neutralized material, cleanup materials, and the broken jerrican were placed in a bag for disposal by DRS. During the response, it was discovered that it would take a few years to fill the jerrican.

Lessons Learned/DRS Recommendations

1. Always use secondary containment when accumulating liquid waste chemicals. Poly trays work well for this purpose.

2. Dispose of wastes within 6 months of beginning accumulation. This prevents excessive deterioration of waste accumulation containers and excessive waste accumulations in your laboratory. It also reduces the chances that wastes will be misidentified or that incompatible wastes will be mixed.

3. Jerricans should be no larger than 10-liters in size. Larger containers are more difficult for DRS to handle.

4. DRS recommends the use of calcium carbonate to neutralize HF spills. Calcium binds the fluorine ions to reduce exposure hazards.

5. Feel free to contact DRS for advice on the kinds and size of containers used to accumulate wastes. DRS can also advise on what wastes can be combined and what should be segregated.

Past Incidents

Last Update: 5/21/2014