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Policy

EPA Changes Rules For Academic Labs

by Cheryl Hogue
November 24, 2008 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 86, ISSUE 47

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Credit: Amanda Yarnell/C&EN
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Credit: Amanda Yarnell/C&EN

Colleges and universities will have greater flexibility in how they handle hazardous waste from chemistry and other on-campus laboratories under an EPA regulation released on Nov. 18. Academic institutions generate small amounts of a variety of hazardous wastes at many sites across their campuses. The new rule will free them from prescriptive EPA regulations designed for industrial settings that produce large quantities of a small number of hazardous wastes at a few locations. Institutions of higher learning have sought modification of these EPA standards for years. The rule applies to colleges and universities, as well as teaching hospitals or nonprofit research institutes that are either owned by or formally affiliated with colleges and universities. Academic institutions are still analyzing the details of the rule, which won't take effect until early 2009. "EPA has made some changes we'll really like, and they've also made some changes we won't like as much," says Anne C. Gross, vice president for regulatory affairs at the National Association of College & University Business Officers, one of several groups seeking the regulatory modifications. "But I'm relieved to finally have something after all these years," she says. The rule can be viewed at epa.gov/osw/hazard/generation/labwaste.

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