Hazardous Materials

For hazardous waste pickups please contact the UNM Environomental Health & Safety department.

You may use the EHS Editable Hazardous Waste Label or you may create your own label.

Environmental Health and Safety arranges for the proper transportation and disposal of excess chemicals and hazardous wastes generated at UNM. In order to have your wastes picked up, fill out a Hazardous Materials Pickup Request Form.

What can I put down the drain?

Generally, materials suitable for sewer disposal in limited quantities must meet the following physical and chemical criteria:

  • They are liquids and readily water soluble (at least 3% soluble)
  • Easily biodegradable or amenable to treatment by the waste water treatment process
  • Are simple salt solutions of low toxicity inorganic substances
  • Are dilute organic substances of low aquatic toxicity and low concentration
  • Have a pH between 3.0 and 10.0

When discharging waste to the sanitary sewer, you must:

  • Never dispose anything that might lead to a storm sewer rather than a sanitary sewer.
  • Use a sink that does not have a history of clogging or overflowing.
  • Use a sink in your laboratory, preferably in a fume hood.
  • Flush with at least 10-20 fold excess of water after drain disposal to thoroughly rinse out the sink and sink trap, and to fully neutralize or inactivate the waste for discharge.
  • Limit the quantities being discharged to 100 grams of solute per laboratory per day.
  • Wear gloves, eye protection and a laboratory coat.
  • Inactivate biological materials (e.g., autoclave or bleach-treat) before releasing to sewer.

What May NOT Be Disposed?

  • Ashes, cinders, sand, mud, straw, shavings, metal, glass, rags, feathers, tar, plastics, wood, manure, hair and fleshings, entrails, paint residues, solid or viscous substances capable of causing obstruction to the flow of sewers.
  • Oil, grease, petroleum, or other water insoluble chemicals
  • Materials that are not biodegradable or would pass through the sewage treatment plant into the river and be toxic to aquatic organisms or accumulate in sediments.
  • Materials that could interfere with the biological processes of sewage treatment or would contaminate the sludge-making disposal
  • All compounds that could result in the presence of toxic gases or infectious substances
  • Hazardous Wastes – either listed or characteristic hazardous wastes, for example:
    • Halogenated hydrocarbons
    • Nitro compounds (organic compounds that contain one or more nitro functional groups (-NO2) and are often explosive)
    • Mercaptans (thiols)
    • Flammables (immiscible in water) or at concentrations of concern
    • Explosives such as azides and peroxides
    • Water soluble polymers that could form gels in the sewer system
    • Water reactive materials
    • Malodorous chemicals
    • Toxic chemicals such as carcinogens, mutagens, teratogens
    • Nanomaterials
    • Substances that boil below 50° C (122°F)
    • Solid or viscous substances in amount s that will cause obstruction of the flow in the sewerage system;
    • Flammable and combustible solvents (flashpoints less than 140oF)
  • Discharges with a pH below 3.0 or higher than 10.0
  • Wastes that could impart color that cannot be removed by treatment process (dye wastes, stains);
  • Metallic ions and salts