Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 74.49
Liaison Mary Easterling
Submission Date Dec. 17, 2020

STARS v2.2

Pennsylvania State University
OP-20: Hazardous Waste Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 David Cullmer
Sustainable Operations Analyst
Sustainability Institute
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have strategies in place to safely dispose of all hazardous, special (e.g. coal ash), universal, and non-regulated chemical waste and seek to minimize the presence of these materials on campus?:
Yes

A brief description of steps taken to reduce hazardous, special (e.g. coal ash), universal, and non-regulated chemical waste:

Penn State has had a policy requiring the reduction in volume or toxicity of hazardous waste since 1988. It specifies that ""Departments that generate hazardous chemical wastes shall ensure that a waste reduction program is in effect and that it is being adhered to."" The policy lists examples of ways to reduce waste by ""making substitutions, purchasing smaller quantities, implementing a chemical inventory to prevent duplication, and integrating microscale techniques in inorganic and organic chemistry labs"". The Senior Vice President for Finance and Business establishes and approves the policy and procedure for hazardous waste disposal within the environment of The Pennsylvania State University. See http://guru.psu.edu/policies/SY20.html PSU also has several other policies that reduce universal and other non regulated waste. Other steps taken to reduce waste include:
-Chemical Redistribution Program
-Mercury Thermometer and Barometer exchange with non-hazardous equivalents
-Battery recycling
-Fluorescent bulb recycling
-Implemented university-wide chemical inventory software
-Microscale chemical use in all undergraduate chemical lab classes
-Laboratory chemical cleanouts
-Pesticide Program
-Solvent distillation units


A brief description of how the institution safely disposes of hazardous, universal, and non-regulated chemical waste:

Penn State has contracts in place with fully licensed vendors for hazardous waste disposal, fluorescent lamp recycling, and waste oil recycling for the wastes generated at the University. The University works with our hazardous waste vendor to dispose of our waste, both hazardous and non-hazardous, using the following hierarchy in determining the disposal method; recycle, treat, stabilize, incinerate, landfill. The fluorescent lamp recycler recycles all parts (glass, metal, and mercury) of the fluorescent lamps. The waste oil recycler recycles our waste oil and also recycles or treats our glycol containing liquids, depending on the concentration of the glycol in the waste. The University has also started to use a compressed gas cylinder recycling company to recycle our “waste” compressed gases.


A brief description of any significant hazardous material release incidents during the previous three years, including volume, impact and response/remediation:

The following twenty-three reportable incidents occurred on Penn State-University Park property during the 3 year period 1/1/17 through 12/31/2019. An additional four incidents impacted Penn State property, but were not considered Penn State releases.

On 1/11/17 at the Arboretum and Park Avenue, a skid steer broke a hydraulic line releasing ½ to 1 gallon of hydraulic fluid to the soil. The impacted soil was excavated and properly disposed. The release was reported to Randy Farmerie of PADEP on 1/17/17.

On 2/20/17 at the Bar Pit, a truck blew a hydraulic line releasing 3-4 gallons of hydraulic fluid to the soil. The impacted soil was excavated and properly disposed. The release was reported to Randy Farmerie of PADEP on 3/2/17.

On 6/12/17 at the Wastewater Treatment Plant, a backhoe blew a hydraulic line releasing <5 gallons of hydraulic fluid to the soil/gravel. The impacted soil was excavated and properly disposed. The release was reported to Randy Farmerie at PADEP on 6/12/17.

On 6/13/17 at the Bar Pit, a truck released about 1 gallon of biohydraulic fluid to the soil/gravel. The impacted soil/gravel was excavated and properly disposed. The release was reported to Randy Farmerie at PADEP on 6/13/17.

On 6/17/17 at the Altoona Campus pond, a fish kill (~41 fish) was noted. There was no apparent cause. The kill was reported to both the PADEP and the PFBC on 6/17/17. Their investigations did not determine a cause.

On 8/10/17 at the new Recital Hall (Music II) construction site, a skid steer broke a hydraulic line releasing 2 gallons of hydraulic fluid to the soil/gravel. The impacted gravel was removed and properly disposed of. The release was reported to PADEP on 8/10/17.

On 8/14/2017 at the Behrend Campus Building 1 in Knowledge Park, it was discovered that a sewer injector pump failed allowing sewage (liquid only) to overflow from the manhole. The total quantity was unknown but was a low flow. The affected area was covered with lime. The release was reported to Harborcreek Sewer Authority, PFBC, PADEP, and Erie County Department of Health.

On 6/7/2018, at the south side of the 230 Building, approximately 8 gallons of hydraulic fluid was released to the turf from an equipment leak. The contaminated soil was excavated and properly disposed. The release was reported to Randy Farmerie of PADEP on 6/7/2018.

On 6/24/2018, at the Spray Fields, a skid steer broke a hydraulic line releasing approximately 5 gallon of hydraulic fluid into the soil. The impacted soil was excavated and properly disposed. The spill was reported to Randy Farmerie of PADEP on 6/25/18.

On 9/21/2018, at the Valentine Research Center, a mower broke a hydraulic line releasing 8-10 gallons of fluid to the soil and pavement. The impacted soil was excavated and properly disposed. The spill was reported to Randy Farmerie of PADEP on 9/21/18.

On 10/25/18, at the Bar Pit, a waste truck broke a hydraulic line releasing 2-3 gallons of biohydraulic fluid to the gravel and concrete. The impacted gravel was excavated and properly disposed; absorbent was used to clean the concrete. The spill was reported to Randy Farmerie of PADEP on 10/25/18.

On 11/2/18, at the Wastewater Treatment Plant during the transfer of DelPac aluminum chloride hydroxide sulfate solution to a storage tank, a valve was not fully closed releasing approximately 400 gallons were released to the soil and about 700 into the containment area. The liquid in the containment area was recovered and the impacted soil was excavated and properly disposed of. The spill was reported to Tony Liquori of PADEP on 11/2/18.

On 11/29/18, at the ARL Steam Plant, during the final stages of an experiment a container ruptured spilling 5-10 gallons of residual lithium hydroxide, manganese oxide, ethylene glycol & water (>75%) to the gravel. The impacted gravel was excavated and properly disposed of.

On 12/12/18, a waste truck broke a hydraulic line releasing 52 gallons of biohydraulic fluid along the roadway (all paved) beginning at the Housing and Food Services building and proceeding to Bigler, across Park Avenue, and onto Curtin. Absorbent was used to recover the oil. The spill was reported to Randy Farmerie of PADEP on 12/17/18.

On 4/3/2019, at Lion Surplus, a scale had been picked up from an EMS laboratory and was stored in the yard. When employees went to move it, it tipped over releasing about three gallons of oil to the soil/gravel (the fact that it contained oil was not obvious.) The impacted soil was excavated and properly disposed. The incident was reported to Randy Farmerie of PADEP on 4/30/2019.

On 5/11/2019, at the 230 Building, an ethylene glycol leak on the roof discharged to the storm water system. It was estimated that ~150 gallons of a 20-22% solution was released. Soil samples were collected from the swale where the discharge flowed that showed the presence of the glycol but with concentrations that were below the cleanup standards. The release was reported to Tom Mears of PADEP on 5/11/2019, with follow-up samples to Ross McMann on 5/31/2019.

On 5/29/2019, in a grassy area along Bigler Road by the Nittany Apartments, a lawnmower released about two gallons of diesel fuel to the grassed area and sidewalk. Absorbent was used on the sidewalk, and the grassed area was excavated and properly disposed. The release was reported to Randy Farmerie on 5/29/2019.

On 8/30/2019, at the Bryce Jordan Center rear parking lot (Orange L), a truck emptying a dumpster broke a hydraulic line releasing approximately 30 gallons of biohydraulic fluid to the pavement. Absorbent was used on the pavement and was properly disposed of.

On 10/3/2019, at the WWTP Construction Site, a contractor struck a line which was believed to have been abandoned but was not. Approximately 10,000 gallons of raw sewage was released but collected on-site for treatment. The area was covered with lime. The spill was reported to PADEP.

On 11/7/2019, at Lion Surplus, an area about 10 feet by 20 feet was found to be covered with oil. The source is unknown but it was estimated to be about 10 gallons. Testing revealed this to be a petroleum-based product. The oil and contaminated gravel was removed and will be properly disposed of. The release was reported to Randy Farmerie of PADEP on 11/7/2019.

On 11/11/2019, at the WWTP construction site, a contractor installing temporary utilities undermined an existing duct bank that was poured around the conduit feeding the mixers in an effluent treatment tank (ASP #1). The shift caused a leak at the penetration into the tank with ~ 50 gallons of untreated effluent leaking onto the ground. The sewage was removed and treated on site and the area was covered with lime. The spill was reported to PADEP.

On 12/17/2019, at the University Park Airport Deicing Pad, while filling an aboveground storage tank with type I propylene glycol, the elbow of the fill pipe broke releasing 710 gallons to the deicing pad. The trench drains were closed off preventing a release to stormwater. All of the glycol was either vacuumed up or flowed to the 50,000-gallon waste glycol UST. The release wss reported to Randy Farmerie of PADEP on 12/17/2019.

On 12/20/2019, at the Harrisburg Campus Service Center, an employee fueling a Fleet vehicle (incorrectly with diesel) walked away from the vehicle resulting in a 20-25 gallon release to pavement. The spill was contained to the pavement and was cleaned up using absorbent. The absorbent was appropriated disposed of. The spill was reported to PADEP on 12/20/2019.


A brief description of any inventory system employed by the institution to facilitate the reuse or redistribution of laboratory chemicals:

PSU has implemented a university-wide, mandatory chemical inventory system – CHIMS. This is a software package purchased through Stanford. In addition, PSU coordinates a successful chemical redistribution program where faculty, through email, are provided a list of chemicals available from other laboratories. The University also encourages faculty that are leaving the University to give chemicals they are leaving behind to their colleagues at Penn State, as part of our laboratory close-out procedure.


Does the institution have or participate in a program to responsibly recycle, reuse, and/or refurbish electronic waste generated by the institution?:
Yes

Does the institution have or participate in a program to responsibly recycle, reuse, and/or refurbish electronic waste generated by students?:
Yes

A brief description of the electronic waste recycling program(s), including information about how electronic waste generated by the institution and/or students is recycled:

Penn State Lion Surplus is responsible for the collection, sale and/or disposal of University-owned equipment, supplies and/or materials - including electronics - which have become obsolete, surplus or scrap to the needs of any University department. Items are disposed through resale, transfer to another department, or recycling. Some computers are sold through an on-site Computer Auction. Items that cannot be reused are sent to a certified recycler, currently Maven Technologies.

Lion Surplus also has an annual Electronics Recycling Day where faculty, staff, and students have the opportunity to drop off their used electronics for disposal in an environmentally safe manner.


Is the institution’s electronic waste recycler certified under the e-Stewards and/or Responsible Recycling (R2) standards?:
Yes

Website URL where information about the institution’s hazardous waste program is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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