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School Science Lab Chemical Clean-out

Organization(s) Vermont Dept. of Environmental Conservation
Project Description The Vermont DEC sponsored and funded a school science laboratory chemical clean-out project in 1999 - 2000 for high schools and middle schools. The main objectives of this project were to: dispose of the current chemicals that were outdated, extremely hazardous or present in excessive quantities; reduce the amount of hazardous chemicals purchased, used and disposed of in school labs; encourage school science labs to remove all mercury/mercury compounds and mercury-containing equipment; and educate science teachers on the proper handling storage and disposal of hazardous chemicals. Schools were assisted with chemical inventorying (of mercury and other laboratory chemicals), chemical disposal (at no cost to the school), and establishing safe chemical storage systems. In addition to one-time lab chemical clean-outs, the program involved teacher training workshops on lab chemical management. Lab chemical management plans describing lab chemical purchase, use and disposal procedures were part of the training and required of all participating schools. The lab clean-outs were completed at an average cost of $1,100 per school. These costs were kept to a minimum by using state agency staff and the municipal solid waste district staff for packaging and transporting waste off site as well as waste consolidation at a municipally-owned and operated hazardous waste depot. Eighty-three middle schools and high schools were cleaned out (representing over 50 percent of Vermont's student population). Removal of approximately 17,000 pounds of hazardous materials, 3,900 pounds of non-hazardous and 156 pounds of mercury was accomplished as a result of this project. The project was highly successful and exceeded Vermont DEC's initial goals for statewide school participation. The project was more than just a one-time clean-out of school science labs. The training workshops and the requirement for lab chemical management plans should ensure a more lasting effect on proper lab chemical management. The project report is available on VT DEC's web site or can be obtained by contacting Tom Benoit.

More Info www.anr.state.vt.us/dec/ead/mercury/SchoolCleanout/labreport.htm
Project Contact
Name Thomas A. Benoit
Phone 802-241-3472
Project Keywords
Activity Keywords Training/workshops
Newsletter Northeast States Pollution Prevention News - Vol. 12 No. 1, Spring 2002 [PDF]


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Last Modified 09/08/2009

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