Waste Management

DEQ May be Coming to Your Lab in 2013!

DEQ Inspection Details

Responsible Disposal

It is the responsibility of everyone at OHSU to make an effort to reduce the amount of waste generated on campus. Whether by reducing waste, recycling, or re-using, we must all take responsibility for the health of our environment by doing what we can to minimize hazardous waste production.

Select one of these links or scroll down for more information:

Biological Waste

Chemical Waste

Radioactive Waste

For additional information, recommendations on strategies to reduce hazardous waste or help with determining whether a waste is hazardous or not, please contact:

EHRS on Marquam Hill, serving Central and Waterfront Campuses

EHRS at West Campus, serving all areas of West Campus

Hazard Communication Program Policy

Know the requirements and standards for working with or around hazardous materials and/or chemicals. The link above also includes requirements for Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS).

Hazardous Materials and Waste Policy

This link details procedures for managing hazardous materials and wastes at OHSU.

Waste Stream Flow Chart

This diagram applies to Marquam Hill primarily.

OHSU's Never Dump List

Please refer to this list if ever in doubt.


Biological Waste

biohazard bag orange

What is Biological Waste?

This category includes:

  • blood

  • body fluids

  • unfixed tissue

  • organ cultures

These wastes cannot be discarded into the municipal sewer or trash until they have been thoroughly decontaminated.  

What is Infectious Waste?

This category includes:
  • Cultures and stocks:  includes etiological agents and associated biologicals, including specimen cultures, and dishes/devices used to transfer, inoculate, and mix cultures, wastes from production of biologicals and serums and discarded live and attenuated vaccines.  (this definition does not include throat and urine cultures that have been chemically or thermally decontaminated;  these may be placed in regular trash.)

  • Pathological waste:  included biopsy materials and all human tissues, anatomical parts that emanate from surgery, obstetrical procedures, autopsy and laboratory processes and animal carcasses and tissues exposed to pathogens in research and bedding and other waste from such animals.  (this definition does not include teeth or formaldehyde or other preservative agents.)

  • Sharps:  includes needles, IV tubing with needles attached, scalpel blades, lancets, and glass tubes that could be broken during handling.

Disposal Requirements:

Solid waste should be placed in red, biohazard bags, sharps disposal containers, suction canisters, or container lined with a clear, unlabeled autoclave bag as appropriate.  Any waste that is placed in regular trash must be autoclaved or disinfected prior to disposal. The effectiveness of the autoclave cycle should be monitored with indicator tape.  

Red bags, or any waste labeled with a biohazard symbol, are not allowed in regular trash.  

Liquid waste should be decontaminated using an effective chemical disinfectant prior to drain disposal. Spills should be immediately cleaned up and the affected area or surface should be disinfected.

Animal carcasses and used sharps cannot be disposed of in the regular trash under any circumstances, and must be collected in the appropriate areas for disposal by authorized methods. At West Campus, departments are charged through the Internal Billing System for collection and disposal. 

Central Campus biohazard waste is removed from work areas by housekeepers (Environmental Services - EVS) and/or PHC employees (custodial service providers) to be either sterilized and disposed of as trash or bulked for shipment as regulated waste to landfill.

West Campus biohazard waste is removed by West Campus EHRS staff. 

For information regarding collection procedures, spill response or any questions regarding the Biohazardous Waste Program, please contact EHRS at:

Central Campus 503-494-7795

West Campus 503-690-5390

Chemical Waste

chemical waste

What is Chemical Hazardous Waste?

This falls into 4 categories:

  • RCRA regulated chemical waste

  • TOSCA regulated waste

  • Universal waste

  • Unregulated waste

Disposal of Chemical Hazardous Waste

When ready to dispose of chemical and hazardous waste, contact EHRS, either Central or West Campus, depending on your location. In general, you'd gather these wastes in your work area to prepare them for disposal.  EHRS rules regarding storage, collection and disposal vary for different categories of chemical and hazardous waste, and these depend on the work environment.  Please consult the OHSU Hazardous Material and Waste Policy for details.


In the event of a chemical spill, please clean up immediately if you have the necessary supplies and expertise. Large spills, and those in which people may be exposed, must be immediately reported to Public Safety at 503-494-4444. Chemical spill response teams are on call 24 hours a day.

Disposal Guidance

Refer to the following waste disposal flowchart when determining how to dispose of any materials at OHSU.  It is comprehensive for both research and clinical areas of campus. For West Campus questions, contact 503-690-5390.

OHSU Waste Disposal Flowchart


More Chemical Waste resources:


Chemical Waste Price List

These prices are reset each year and subject to change as vendor rates and other costs change.

OHSU's Never Dump List

Please refer to this list if ever in doubt.


radioactive waste

Rad Drum

Radioactive Waste Management, Decay, Removal & Disposal

The keys to managing radioactive waste:

  • Know which radionuclide it is that needs disposal.

  • Segregate the different radionuclides: Long-lived (3H, 14C) is not allowed to decay, Short-lived (32P, 33P, 35S) is allowed to decay.

  • Survey the material with the appropriate instrument to limit waste (if not hot, regular trash disposal is appropriate).

  • Re-use glassware for other radioactive experiments.

When Decaying Radioactive Waste:

  • This only applies to half-lives <90 days (RSOP1801).

  • Ensure entire bag of waste is free of radioactive markings.

  • Verify that a minimum of 10 half-lives have passed.

  • Check outside of bag and on top of waste with appropriate survey instrument.

  • Record results on decay form.


Radioactive Waste Rules, Procedures & Forms:


For disposal and removal of radioactive materials, EHRS must be contacted. Fees are charged through the Internal Billing System. Follow this link for current rates:

Radiation Safety Services and Rates