Wastewater Discharge Related to Research Activities
The wastewater generator discharge permit specifies that non-sewerable materials are not to be disposed of down the drain. All sanitary, process, and laboratory waste is “treated” at the Palo Alto Regional Water Quality Control Plant (RWQCP) prior to discharge into San Francisco Bay.
Discharge Limits For Non-Hazardous Materials
- Sewerable Discharge Limits are not the same as "hazardous waste" disposal limits set under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) for hazardous waste disposal.
- Non-sewerable hazardous substances include organic solvents, heavy metals or materials classified as toxics, flammables, corrosives (pH 5.0-11.0) or oxidizers.
- Check product labels and MSDS before disposing of materials into lab sinks! Kits, cleaners and organic solvents MAY contain materials that cannot be disposed of down the drain!
Site-Inspections and Non-Compliant Discharges
RWQCP observes practices and procedures for potential sources of accidental discharges to the sanitary sewer and follows up on non-compliant self-monitoring results.
- Use secondary containment for materials stored adjacent to sinks.
- Fume hood cup sinks - RWQCP recommends taking unused fume hood cup sinks out-of-service. (Plug with a rubber stopper, covered, and labeled as "not available")
- Water aspirators - RWQCP requires that water aspiration devices be removed from water faucets.
- Replace mercury thermometers with non-mercury alternatives at no cost!
- Additional information is available on the Stanford Utilities website.
Schedule for Periodic Self-Monitoring of Wastewater
Stanford Utilities coordinates collection of wastewater samples for the presence of non-sewerable materials from sites specified in the permit.
- Use previous regulatory agency inspection reports as a preparation guide. Record corrections on your quarterly lab and shop inspection form.
- CAP Team member can conduct a site visit to prepare your lab for a wastewater inspection.
- Contact the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences Environmental Health and Safety Coordinator for additional assistance.