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INTRODUCTION

by schmidy last modified Jan 08, 2008 12:36 PM

The University of Louisville is committed to maintaining a safe and healthful work environment for its faculty, staff and students. This manual contains procedures for reducing or eliminating accidental illness, injury, death or environmental damage which can result from the improper management and disposal of wastes produced by the University.

This Disposal Guide has been developed to assist University personnel in the proper handling and disposal of chemicals, or chemical products in the laboratory and other University work areas. Although the guide was specifically written to outline procedures for chemical wastes, it also contains valuable information on many other types of wastes (i.e., radioactive, infectious, asbestos, PCB's, gas cylinders, empty containers, controlled drugs, and waste oils).

Each person in a supervisory or management capacity is responsible for providing and maintaining proper waste management in his or her respective area and for ensuring that all authorized and applicable guidelines contained in this manual are followed. It is of prime importance that all supervisory personnel understand and accept this responsibility, and take an active role in working with faculty and staff to provide necessary training, and by setting an example for them to follow.

Ultimately, it is individual faculty and staff who are responsible for implementing this Disposal Guide, so take personal responsibility for your area. Your attitude, knowledge, and actions will determine the success of our environmental programs.

LEGAL OBLIGATIONS

Increased public concern over environmental issues led to a major expansion of the federal and state environmental laws in past years. Aggressive enforcement of these laws by regulatory agencies has also increased.

The numerous environmental laws enacted have been documented in thousands of pages of regulations, creating an extremely complex scheme. Despite this complexity, liability for noncompliance with environmental regulations is not limited to major, intentional offenses that cause significant harm to public health or the environment. In fact, sizable penalties have been imposed for relatively minor, inadvertent violations.

Regulatory agencies and the courts assume that persons working with chemicals today are knowledgeable of the potential hazards involved with their work. Therefore, civil and criminal penalties can be imposed on institutions for non-compliance. Further, this liability can extend beyond the institution to individuals, based on the reasoning that all responsible personnel, from a lab instructor to a college president, share in the duty of ensuring compliance with the environmental laws.

It is quite clear that the University of Louisville and its employees need to meet the challenges posed by the environmental laws and regulations. This Disposal Guide contains the information that will enable University personnel to meet their responsibility for environmental compliance.

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