Washington State University
SAFETY POLICIES AND PROCEDURES MANUAL

RADIATION SAFETY
9.60
Revised 3-02
Radiation Safety Office
335-8916

Disposal of Radioactive Wastes

PDF link

RESPONSIBILITY

Authorized users are responsible for ensuring that radioactive wastes are packaged, labeled, stored, and disposed of in accordance with the following procedures.

DISPOSAL BY AUTHORIZED USERS

Authorized users may dispose of some radioactive wastes as described below. The Radiation Safety Office processes disposal of all other radioactive wastes. See "Disposal by the Radiation Safety Office" below.

Release to Sewer System (Pullman Campus Only)

Authorized Pullman campus users may release small quantities of non-alpha-emitting radionuclides in soluble form to the sanitary sewer if the chemical compositions are within limits imposed by state environmental health regulations. (No hazardous wastes are allowed; only aqueous wastes may be released. See "Liquid Waste" below.)

Total University concentrations of radionuclides to the sanitary sewer system must remain below limits specified in Table III of WAC 246-221-290, Appendix A.

To view this table, go to the Washington Administrative Code web site at:

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/wac/

Select Title 246: Health, Department of

Select Chapter 246-221: Radiation protection standards

Select WAC 246-221-290: Appendix A-Annual limits on intake (ALI) and derived air concentrations (DAC) of radionuclides for occupational exposure; effluent concentrations; concentrations for release to sanitary sewerage.

To ensure that total University releases do not exceed designated limits, authorized user release limits are not to exceed those limits listed below.

Radionuclide

Release Limit for
One Month in Microcuries

3H

4,160

14C

830

For all other isotopes (non-3H, non-14C, and non-alpha-emitters), 83 microcuries is the limit for each isotope.

The Radiation Safety Office (RSO) must maintain accurate records of releases to the sanitary sewer by each separate radionuclide.

Each authorized Pullman campus user must record radionuclide sewer releases on a Radioactive Sanitary Sewer Discharge Record form. Use one form for each radionuclide released for each month in which releases are made.

Print the PDF master on 9.60.8 or complete onscreen and print to obtain supplies of the form.

Send copies of completed Radioactive Sanitary Sewer Discharge Records to the Radiation Safety Office for any month in which such discharges take place.

The RSO is required to monitor the inflow and estimate the outflow of the Pullman waste treatment plant monthly to assure that excessive amounts of radioactive materials are not present.

Release to the Atmosphere

Authorized users may release small quantities of non-alpha-emitting radionuclides to the atmosphere. Total University effluent concentrations of radionuclides released to the air must remain below the limits specified in Table II, column 1, of WAC 246-221-290, Appendix A.

To view this table, go to the Washington Administrative Code web site at:

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/wac/

Select Title 246: Health, Department of

Select Chapter 246-221: Radiation protection standards

Select WAC 246-221-290: Appendix A

The RSO must maintain accurate records on quantities, types, and concentrations of radionuclides released.

Each authorized user must record radionuclide releases to the air on a Summary of Radionuclide Disposals to the Air. Use one form for each radionuclide released for each month in which releases are made.

Print the PDF master on 9.60.9 or complete onscreen and print to obtain supplies of the form.

Send copies of the completed forms to the Radiation Safety Office for any month in which such discharges take place.

DISPOSAL BY THE RADIATION SAFETY OFFICE (RSO)

The Radiation Safety Office (RSO) collects the following types of properly packaged and labeled wastes from laboratories:

The authorized user is responsible for ensuring that wastes are properly packaged and labeled, and that a Radioactive Waste Receipt is properly completed and attached to each waste container prior to collection by RSO personnel.

Packaging

Dry Waste

Dry radioactive waste includes items such as paper, glassware, and metal (e.g., aluminum foil).

Place plastics in a separate container from paper, cloth, glassware, and metal.

Do not place freestanding liquids, or animal carcasses, blood, or tissue in dry waste containers. See "Animal Carcasses or Other Putrefiable Waste" below.

Place dry waste including gloves in a standard 2-cubic foot fiberboard box which has been lined with a plastic bag supplied by the RSO. The RSO also has 1-cubic foot boxes for low volume generators.

Put radioactive warning tape on any plastic bag that is not pre-marked. Do not write on disposal boxes.

Place glass pipettes, broken glass, needles and any other sharp items in a separate hard plastic sharps box and not in dry waste containers. See 4.25.

Package and freeze animal carcasses, blood and tissue, and larger amounts (>10 grams) of waste that will putrefy, according to the animal waste procedures below. Do not place such items in dry waste containers.

Liquid Waste

Authorized users must separate liquid wastes into hazardous liquids and aqueous (nonhazardous) liquids prior to collection.

Collect and store liquid waste that cannot be disposed of via the sewer system in appropriate containers with double-containment to prevent spills and drips from contaminating surrounding areas. See above.

Some aqueous (nonhazardous) liquid waste can be absorbed on floor dry absorbent material and disposed of as solid waste. Consult the Radiation Safety Office (RSO) for more specific assistance relating to liquid waste disposal and collection.

Attach a Liquid Waste Reporting Label to each container. (See the sample on 9.32.2.) Specify the following information for each container:

Contact the RSO to obtain copies of the label.

Some organic fluids may be toxic, or a fire hazard, or both. Maintain a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for each chemical to be handled to ensure adequate information is available to protect against a chemical hazard. See 5.10.

Liquid Scintillation (LS) Vials Disposed of With Contents

Collect liquid scintillation (LS) vials in the "egg crate" carton in which the vials were originally received, or pack loose in a separate two-cubic foot fiberboard box lined with a plastic liner supplied by the RSO.

Do not mix filled scintillation vials with dry waste.

Waste Segregation and Storage

The following segregation by waste type is necessary to ensure compliance with state and federal laws. See above.

Dry Solid Radioactive Waste

Separate dry solid radioactive waste according to the following criteria:

If more than one isotope is used, store each isotope in its own container, providing that the experimental process permits separation. However, each of the following sets of isotopes may be combined in one container:

Bulk Liquids

Store bulk liquids in separate containers (5-gallon and/or 1-gallon containers), which are double-contained as discussed below and under "Liquid Waste" above.

Aqueous Bulk Liquid Wastes

Place only those chemicals in aqueous bulk liquid waste which are considered non-dangerous according to the Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE).

The Radiation Safety Office (RSO) periodically sends all authorized users a list of those chemicals which are considered dangerous and non-dangerous by the DOE. See also 5.68.

If more than one isotope is used, store each isotope in its own container, providing that the experimental process permits separation. However, each of the following sets of isotopes may be combined in one container:

Dangerous Bulk Liquid Wastes

Handle those chemicals which are considered dangerous according to the DOE as dangerous bulk liquid waste only.

For dangerous wastes, the total activity in each 1-gallon container must not exceed 100 microcuries (3.7 MBq), or 500 microcuries (18.5 MBq) in any 5-gallon container.

If more than one isotope is used, store each isotope in its own container, providing that the experimental process permits separation. However, each of the following sets of isotopes may be combined in one container:

Put a cap or lid on any container used for storage of radioactive liquid waste. Cap each unfilled container to prevent the passive atmospheric release of radioactive materials and chemicals. Cap each filled container and prepare the container for pickup by the RSO as radioactive liquid waste.

The RSO is required to pick up any filled and capped chemically hazardous or dangerous liquid waste containers within 72 hours of container closure.

Scintillation Vials in 2-Ft3 Boxes

If more than one isotope is used, store each isotope in its own container. However, each of the following sets of isotopes may be combined in a single container:

Sealed Sources

Request disposal of sealed sources as a specific waste item type separate from other bulk liquid waste. Special containers or shielding may be required.

Assistance

Consult the Radiation Safety Office for more specific assistance if necessary.

Animal Carcasses and Other Putrefiable Waste

Store animal carcasses individually by isotope. Seal the animal carcasses and other putrefiable waste into two layers of plastic bags and store in an appropriate freezer labeled for radioactive material. See 9.32.

Make special arrangements with the Radiation Safety Office for alternative disposal of large carcasses and large volumes of waste.

Biohazards

Certain carcasses and tissue waste may be contaminated with serious infections and biohazardous microorganisms. Normal radioactive waste handling practices may not always assure protection against biological contaminants.

Make special arrangements to destroy the biological agents before the waste is transferred to the Radiation Safety Office. See 4.24. Contact Environmental Health and Safety for further biohazard disposal information; telephone 335-3041.

Do not add carcasses and putrefiable waste to dry waste containers. The Radiation Safety Office stores some dry waste boxes for several months or even years before final disposal. Separate wastes which may putrefy and store them in a freezer. Call the Radiation Safety Office for removal of putrefiable waste.

Labeling and Recordkeeping

Label all waste packages and containers of radioactive material with a radiation symbol and a description of the contents (isotope and activity plus chemical and physical form). See 9.32.

Complete a Radioactive Waste Receipt and attach the original to the waste container prior to calling the RSO for a waste pickup. See the sample in the PDF version of 9.60.7.

File the yellow copy in the authorized user's file.

Obtain supplies of the Radioactive Waste Receipt from the Radiation Safety Office.

Notify Radiation Safety

After packaging and labeling the waste, telephone 335-7383 and leave a message for radioactive waste pickup. Provide the following information:

NOTE: Radiation Safety Office personnel will not pick up a waste container without a fully-completed and attached Radioactive Waste Receipt.

See the PDF master forms:
9.60.8: Radioactive Sanitary Sewer Discharge Record, and
9.60.9: Summary of Radionuclide Disposals to the Air
Print or complete onscreen and print as needed