Designlowcostpollution.pdf - TECHNICAL PAPER ISSN 1047-3289...

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Designing a Low-Cost Pollution Prevention Plan to Pay Off at the University of Houston Yurika Diaz Bialowas, Emmett C. Sullivan, and Robert D. Schneller Environmental Health and Risk Management Department, University of Houston, Houston, TX ABSTRACT The University of Houston is located just south of down- town Houston, TX. Many different chemical substances are used in scientific research and teaching activities throughout the campus. These activities generate a signif- icant amount of waste materials that must be discarded as regulated hazardous waste per U.S. Environmental Protec- tion Agency (EPA) rules. The Texas Commission on Envi- ronmental Quality (TCEQ) is the state regulatory agency that has enforcement authority for EPA hazardous waste rules in Texas. Currently, the University is classified as a large quantity generator and generates 1000 kg per month of hazardous waste. In addition, the University has experienced a major surge in research activities during the past several years, and overall the quantity of the hazardous waste generated has increased. The TCEQ re- quires large quantity generators to prepare a 5-yr Pollu- tion Prevention (P2) Plan, which describes efforts to elim- inate or minimize the amount of hazardous waste generated. This paper addresses the design and develop- ment of a low-cost P2 plan with minimal implementation obstacles and strong payoff potentials for the University. The projects identified can be implemented with existing University staff resources. This benefits the University by enhancing its environmental compliance efforts, and the disposal cost savings can be used for other purposes. Other educational institutions may benefit by undertak- ing a similar process. INTRODUCTION The University of Houston campus covers 550 acres and includes 100 buildings. Current enrollment is 35,000 students with 5000 faculty and staff. 1 There are 400 laboratories on campus presently with more planned in 2006. Colleges and universities typically generate a wide range of chemical waste and, because of their decentral- ized organizational structure face, challenges in comply- ing with applicable waste regulations. 2,3 One of the criti- cal functions of the University’s Environmental Health and Risk Management Department (EHRM) is to manage chemical waste in accordance with the U.S. Environmen- tal Protection Agency (EPA) and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) rules. 4,5 This is a sizable undertaking for the EHRM staff and ties up many re- sources. There is no formal long-term investment in waste disposal costs for the University other than a demonstra- tion of regulatory compliance. 6 Therefore, it is in the best interest of the University to minimize the quantity of chemical waste generated whenever possible so that funds could be spent on projects other than waste disposal.
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  • Spring '18
  • ME
  • Waste, Air & Waste Management Association

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