The Retrofit Companies Blog

Local School Cleans Out Chemical Stockpile

 

Fourth Baptist Christian School

Lab Pack and Chemical Clean Out

 


Take a look at the video below to see how a simple chemical clean out can be very eye-opening!

 

 

  Customer Spotlight, Fourth Baptist Christian School

Chemical Waste Clean Out, Lab Pack Service

 

 

CHEMICAL STOCK PILE IN SCHOOLS

 

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Fourth Baptist Christian School
Plymouth, MN

  

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Fourth Baptist Christian School is 53 years old, and many years ago (possibly 25-30 years) the school accepted a donation from a local university with a full lab of miscellaneous chemicals. After years of storage, the Science Department determined they do longer had a use for most of these chemicals and could better utilize all of that valuable storage space. Alan Hodak, Fourth Baptist School Administrator and Executive Director of the MN Association of Christian Schools, and his team decided it was time to find a safe and responsible way to dispose of this mysterious stockpile. Alan's team decided to reach out to TRC and call in their team of Chemical Waste Experts to assess the situation and help properly remove these potentially dangerous chemicals with their Lab Pack service.

 

"Something had to be done, and the timing was right," - Alan J. Hodak, Administrator at Fourth Baptist Christian School

 Request a recycling pick up

Do You Have Radioactive Materials in Your School?

As TRC's team worked through the stockpile, properly identifying, sorting, packaging, and preparing, they came across some Radioactive material. This is more common than you may think, but can be easily removed with the help of an expert

Radioactive material 1Example of Radioactive Material found in schools

 

Radioactive materials have long been used in schools to demonstrate this fundamental concept.  These materials may be dangerous if not properly handled and stored.  We often find that these materials were purchased long ago, by staff who have since moved on.  As regulations change and new staff arrive, it can be a challenge to keep training and licensing current.

 

Depending on how long your chemicals sit around or how they are being stored, there may be other high risk items that you would never realize unless thoroughly assessed. We often assist schools in similar situations as Fourth Baptist Christian School and in the process discover items that they never even knew they had.

 

Best Practice for SChools with Chemicals


Our TRC Chemical Waste Experts have encountered many schools with similar chemical waste issues, and our recommendations for best practices are as follows:

Chemical Clean Out Lab Pack
Fourth Baptist Christian School Chemical Clean Out - Lab Pack Services
After chemicals have been properly sorted and packaged

  • Only carry inventory of items you will use within your curriculum
  • Keep cabinets organized and labeled
  • Plan an annual inventory and Clean Out
  • Reduce your risk by avoiding mysterious donations

Hazardous Waste Inventory Download

 

Request a recycling pick up
 

Lithium Batteries Are a Fire Hazard


lithium ion battery

 

Is your business in need of a recycling program for lithium batteries? These popular batteries pose dangerous risks and are quickly piling up into hazardous, potentially explosive scenarios in nearly every business you can imagine.

 

Do I have Lithium Batteries?

Lithium batteries have become common in everyday items, powering our computers, cell phones, pace makers, clocks and even our vehicles; it is more likely than not that you have lithium ion batteries in your facility. They have become the new normal, however many are unaware of the risks that they pose and how to properly dispose of them. With such a large volume of these batteries everywhere, it is vitally important that you and your business are aware of how to properly handle lithium batteries.

 

Lithium Ion Batteries (1)Lithium Batteries are Commonly Found In:
 
  • Digital Cameras
  • Clocks
  • Computers
  • Cell Phones
  • Pace Makers
  • Watches
  • Thermometers
  • Laser Pointers
  • MP3 players
  • Calculators
  • Computer backup systems

 

Why are Lithium Batteries Dangerous?

These batteries are more likely to catch fire than other rechargeable batteries due to their chemistry, containing a flammable electrolyte. These batteries are also pressurized and pack more energy into a small space, causing them to be more popular but also more dangerous.

 

If the batteries have a flaw, are damaged, overcharged, packed too closely together or are exposed to high temperatures they can overheat. This can be a very dangerous situation where uncontrolled positive feedback can cause other nearby batteries to overheat, triggering a domino effect of what is known as "thermal runaway." 

 

How do I Properly dispose of them?

To avoid dangerous situations with your lithium batteries, be sure to follow proper disposal guidelines. For full details and up to date information on lithium battery regulations please visit the eCFR - Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. 

 lithium ion batteries

 

TRC can assist with properly disposing of your lithium ion batteries. Please click below to contact one of our team members and they will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Free Hazardous Waste Consultation

 

EPA Launches New E-Manifest System

 

New Regulations for All Hazardous Waste Manifests

 

EPA E-Manifest Rules Page 1

The EPA is in the final stages of developing their nationwide Electronic Tracking System, with a compliance target date of June 30th, 2018.
Click the button below to learn how TRC is making it easy for you to stay compliant.
EPA E-Manifest Flyer
 
 


 

Choosing a Reputable Partner Minimizes Your Risks for Regulated Waste Related Fines

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One of the most important concepts for generators of waste to understand is Cradle-to-Grave.  You can see the EPA’s definition HERE.  But, in a nut shell, this means that the generator of waste is responsible to ultimate disposal.  Nothing will relinquish a generator of this responsibility and there’s no expiration date or time limit.  Hiring someone else to transport and dispose of your waste does NOT transfer responsibility. 

Read more: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/cradle-to-grave.html

 

Recently, charges have been filed against two vendors who were previously trusted to properly handle their clients’ waste.

Luminaire Environmental and Technologies Inc. Plymouth, MN

http://www.startribune.com/plymouth-waste-disposal-operators-charged-in-fraud-scheme/446253773

Recycletronics Sioux City, IA

https://resource-recycling.com/e-scrap/2017/08/17/sioux-city-crt-stockpiles-prompt-enforcement-action/

Because the actions of your chosen vendors can also negatively affect your company image, as well as result in fines and other additional fees for you, it’s important to know the following about anyone you allow to manage your regulated waste:

  • Can they provide names and contacts to current customers (similar to you) as references?
  • Does the vendor have adequate insurance? They should be able to provide not only commercial liability, but also pollution coverage.
  • Where does the waste go? Can the vendor provide all downstream channel and facility information?
  • What documentation and paperwork is provided? Depending on the waste type, waste profiles and hazardous waste manifests may be required. Certificates of Recycling/disposal should be provided every shipment, and your vendor should be able to provide you with usage reports, as requested.

You should be prepared and have a plan. [Check out our blog for help preparing a waste management plan.] Monitor and manage your plan, and the service provided to ensure you are in compliance should never be overlooked.

At The Retrofit Companies, your environmental compliance is our top priority. We offer a range of environmental services, assisting with material inventories, legal documentation, and access to approved packaging options. In addition to proper shipping procedures and an extensive network of disposal partners, rest assured that your waste handling and recycling needs are covered by TRC. We're here to be the hazardous waste recycling and disposal partner you are looking for.  

Consult our haz waste team

 

Tank Talk: Tank Maintenance and Cleaning Services

To continue to provide the environmental services that our customers need from us. We have recently started promoting our tank cleaning and maintenance services.

Tanks can be found in all kinds of buildings, including schools, manufacturing, and any building that, at one point, used a boiler. Some tanks will get used and maintenanced regularly, while others will be forgotten, until there is an issue.

We can help with either scenario, no matter what type of tank it is. Let's take a look at the different kinds of tanks that require service and cleaning: 

Neutralization Tanks:

Neutralization tanks are attached to sewer lines and serve to neutralize any acids prior to discharging into the sewer system.  These tanks are commonly found in schools and other lab-type facilities, where chemicals get, intentionally and unintentionally, poured down the drain. Even if no acids are being sewered, the tanks still fill up with sediment and can clog over time. 

Here is a diagram of a tank to give you a better idea of how they work.  Our service includes removal of old rock/sludge, packaging, testing, disposal, and installation of new rock.  The old rock/sludge can have enough heavy metals built up to be regulated as hazardous waste, testing will inform that process.

Tank Diagram.jpg

Holding Tanks:

Holding tanks are used in all kinds of manufacturing processes.  Anytime a manufacturer has large quantities of liquid product that they need to hold and use continuously they’re likely to have some sort of tank system for storage. The tanks are used to store a product necessary for the manufacturing process.  Regardless of the product, these tanks will occasionally need to be cleaned out to remove sedimentary buildup, impurities, and to check the tank integrity.  Often times, holding tank work is completed during regular plant closures in order to avoid interrupting the manufacturing process. 

Maintenance Equipment/Tanks

If your facility operates a boiler, it’s likely you have back-up fuel tanks to continue operation in the absence of municipal gas.  Virtually every school and multi-story office building is operating a boiler. 

These tanks vary greatly in size depending on the size of the boiler.  Many facilities are switching from #6 fuel oil to #2 fuel oil.  If this is happening in your facility, the old #6 tanks need to be cleaned out before they can be decommissioned.  Additionally, the #2 fuel oil tanks may require maintenance due to contamination or gelling of oil. 

Download our Tank Cleaning Profile to gather information on your tanks. Then, consult our team to help get your tank service scheduled!

Get the Industrial Tank Cleaning Profile Form

 

Consult our haz waste team

 

 

 

HOW DOES HAZARDOUS WASTE CLEAN UP WORK?

Do you have a room, closet, or cabinet used for chemical storage? Maybe your business has a few old cans of paint, or an entire warehouse aisle of miscellaneous products that sit half-unused year after year, and you're not really sure how to start getting it all cleaned up safely and responsibly?

Keep reading to learn about the TRC process for managing hazardous waste cleanups for our clients, with attention to details, and in compliance with DOT and EPA regulations.

We start in one of two manners, either the client provides a waste inventory, or TRC comes on site to organize waste and create the inventory. Here's how each option works:

CLIENT CREATED INVENTORY

Client sorts and inventories their waste, and then provides TRC with that inventory along with SDS sheets for all wastes. The Environmental team likes to have pictures, so they know how much and what types of packaging to prepare for, and to get a clear idea of what is on site. TRC will often ask for that from the customer. TRC is then able to create a recycling and disposal estimate based on that inventory. The actual invoice will be based on the actual waste found on-site, plus time and packaging material needed to prepare the waste according to DOT and EPA compliance. This is certainly not a solution for everyone, and we do provide a simple hazardous waste inventory guide to help clients, but many people choose to have TRC take care of their chemical waste clean up from the start.

hazardous-waste-inventory.jpg

TRC CREATED INVENTORY

If your hazardous waste clean up project is large or complicated, or if your company doesn't have in-house environmental safety expertise, having TRC work on your chemical waste clean up from the start is a helpful solution. This is a tremendous benefit when internal resources or knowledge are not available to you. Clients simply contact TRC and schedule a time for the TRC Environmental Services team to come on-site. Under a T&M agreement, our professional team will:

  • sort your waste
  • organize wate by type
  • complete an inventory of your waste
  • package the waste in approved transport containers
  • prepare the required paperwork for shipment

Finally, TRC loads the waste onto our truck and hauls it off site to be processed and/or recycled. Our fees for this service include mileage charged to get the team on-site, an hourly labor rate for staff, and cost for packaging used needed, along with the disposal fees. One job, one invoice. We asked one of our recent clients about his experience using this exact service. He recommends, "Hire someone like TRC to handle it from start to finish. It was a big process, and your guys made it so much easier. It takes a lot of pressure off of you by having a qualified company handle it in a proper way."

 

hazardous-waste-sorted-by-type.jpg

 

At this point you have chosen to either create a waste inventory on your own or hire TRC to complete one, and your project will be handed from the account representative over to our environmental services team, the people trained to safely handle and mange hazardous wastes. 

hazardous-waste-lab-pack.jpg

Our team arrives on site at the scheduled time and begin to categorize all of the waste by DOT hazard classes and chemical compatibility. Each category is then inventoried before being packaged into UN-rated drums. The void space in the drums is filled with a loose packing media to prevent items from shifting during transit and to soak up any liquids that may spill. Each drum is assigned EPA waste codes and a shipping description from the DOT Hazardous Materials Table. All items are shipped either on a hazardous materials bill of lading or a Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest. The on-site team prepares all of the shipping documents, labels, markings, and profiles required to legally transport your waste for disposal and/or recycling. The profile forms describe the waste to the disposal facility to ensure that an appropriate treatment plan is utilized. Clients receive copies of all shipping documents for their records.

hazardous-waste-shipment.jpg

Once the waste is shipped from the client's site is it brought back to TRC's licenses, 10-day transfer facility in Little Canada, MN. From there it is placed onto a semi-trailer with waste from other generators (clients) and shipped to the disposal facility for final processing. Upon receipt of the waste, the disposal facility signs the shipping documents and sends a copy of the now completed shipping document back to the original generator (that's you!) to help them maintain compliance.

You can read more about hazardous waste recycling and Envrionmental Services with TRC, or consult our team now with your questions!

 

Free Hazardous Waste Consultation

Interview: Chemical Waste Clean Up in Schools

Chemical-waste-clean-up-in-school.jpg

Today we talk to Dan Swanson, Building and Grounds Supervisor at Hermantown Schools about his recent first experience with The Retrofit Companies’ environmental services division. Dan is very near his retirement and working to tie up loose ends before he leaves his facility to the new supervisor. One of his looming jobs was to safely and responsibly take care of special wastes that had accumulated over the years. He chose to hire TRC for the first time ever to handle this chemical waste clean up project, and was willing to take some time to share the story with us. Let’s see what he has to say!

 

How did you hear about TRC? 

Your rep contacted me by e-mail. The timing was right, we needed the service, so I got in touch with them.

 

What made you decide to work with us? And what services did TRC provide for you?

We had a fair amount of hazardous waste build-up. There were a lot of things to take care of: paint, cleaning solutions, lights, etc. Our local waste company required us to inventory all the waste prior to disposal, but with TRC, they came and did all that.

 

Was TRC staff experienced & knowledgeable; were we able to provide a meaningful partnership and make your chemical clean up successful?

They did a great job. We had a short time line and everything just worked out. Our district is building new schools, and I’m set to retire shortly. It was important to take care of the waste before the new guy takes over.

 

How responsive was your TRC Sales Rep to your questions or concerns?

They are very responsive. Our clean-up project was taken care of in just a couple weeks from the first time I called.

 

Tell us about scheduling your cleanup – Were we able to fit your ideal schedule?

I had a small window of time and TRC was very helpful in meeting that time requirement. It took the stress away.

 

Tell us about your perception of value for the hazardous waste recycling service provided. Was it a good value compared to any other vendors that also provided quotes for the same project?
TRC was competitively priced, and we were happy with the quality of their service.

 

What advice would you give to other schools that wish clean out their chemical wastes?

Hire someone like TRC to handle it from start to finish. It was a big process, and your guys made it so much easier.

 

Would you recommend us to your colleagues? If yes, what was the greatest benefit you received by working with us?
Yes.  It takes a lot of pressure off of you by having a qualified company handle it in a proper way.

 

Thanks for the interview, Dan! We're happy to hear that your experience was a good one. It really does sound like managing hazardous waste was made simpler by working with TRC.

When you are ready to clean up the hazardous and chemical waste in your facility, learn how to choose a reputable hazardous waste vendor or get our inventory kit for free!

Hazardous Waste inventory help

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