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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

Frequently Asked Questions
Disposal of School Chemical Wastes
  • Our school department head did not budget for the costs associated with removal of a drum of solvents from our school industrial arts department. What are our options?
    All schools should budget for the safe removal of wastes from their schools. Each school department that purchases chemicals should include a line item for proper disposal costs.

    Regarding your current situation, there are two options for the safe removal of the drum from your school. Option one is to contact a hazardous waste disposal company to remove and properly dispose of the drum of solvents. Contact NHPPP at (800) 273-9469 or for the current contract.

    Option two is to receive permission from your town Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Coordinator to self-transport school wastes to the next HHW collection event for disposal. The NH Hazardous Waste Rules, Env-Wm 1003.10 School Wastes, states school wastes may be accepted at a household hazardous waste collection project provided the school has received prior permission from the sponsor of the collection project and NHDES. Permission shall be granted on the basis of available funding, the ability of the transporter to handle the waste, and the quantity of the waste to be disposed of. Schools should realize when using this option, they most likely would be required by the town to pay any associated disposal costs.

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  • I am a new chemistry teacher at our local high school. The chemistry storage room is filled with approximately 100 containers of out-of-date chemicals that I will never use. How should I start the process of disposing of these chemicals?
    NHPPP is available to visit your school (a confidential and free service) and assist you in the process of organizing the chemicals for removal from the school. Every school should properly dispose of chemicals that are no longer needed, unlabeled or unknown. This can be accomplished by the options outlined above. If your school maintains a complete chemical inventory, the likelihood of over-stocking chemicals will be minimized.
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  • Our photography class uses a silver recovery unit to reclaim the silver for recycling. The first container we have is now full. Is this considered to be a hazardous waste? How should we dispose of it?
    The fixer solution will not be counted towards the school's generator status, as long as it is recycled for the silver content. The fixer solution container should be labeled with its contents, and the start and end accumulation dates. The fixer solution should be picked up by a registered hazardous waste transporter who should manifest the waste, and note on the manifest "SILVER WASTE FOR RECYCLING." By writing this on the manifest, the school will not be charged a hazardous waste fee by the State, in addition to the transportation fee.

    There are specific guidelines on how the silver recovery unit should be set up in the school. The silver recovery unit must be "connected" to the developer equipment, or "hard-piped" from process station, to reclamation unit, to discharge. In other words, you cannot collect the fixer solution in a bucket, walk the solution over to the silver recovery unit, pour the solution in, wait for the process, collect the process water in another bucket and pour it down the drain. School staff should review their process procedures and make any necessary changes if needed. The NHDES fact sheet Management of Waste Photoprocessing Solutions Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbolshould also answer any questions on proper handling and disposal of these wastes.

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  • Our school biology laboratory storage room has many inert products such as agar, drosphelia medium and maltose, with expired shelf lives. Is there any guidance available on which school chemicals or products can properly be disposed of in the trash?
    NHPPP provides a list of school chemicals and products that are typically considered solid waste. If you see a chemical or product you have on this list, it can safely be thrown in the trash.



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NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-3503 | TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964 | Hours: M-F, 8am-4pm

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