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Environmental Health and Safety

Radioactive Waste Pickup

The Radiation Safety Office will pick up and properly dispose of radioactive waste produced on campus. During the normal course of experimentation, low levels of radioactive materials will necessarily be released to the sanitary sewer,regular trash, up a fumehood, etc. Other radioactive material,however, should be collected until a reasonable amount (several boxes and/or bottles) can be picked up. Instructions for proper collection and storage of radioactive waste before pick-up are given below.

Separate by Isotope and Type

  1. Separate solid from liquid.
  2. Separate aqueous liquid from organic solvent samples.
  3. Separate by isotope.
    • 14C and 3H may be stored together.
    • Isotopes with half-lives of 30 days or less may be stored together (32P, 51Cr, 86Rb, etc.).
    • Other isotopes must be individually stored.

Scintillation Fluid

It is required that biodegradable, aqueous type fluors be used to count samples on liquid scintillation units.

  1. Remove used scintillation fluid from vials.
  2. Scintillation fluid containing high levels of activity should be placed in gallon jugs.
  3. Biodegradable fluors containing only 3H and/or 14C in concentrations less than .05 µCi/ml may be washed down the drain.
  4. Rinse vials and place in the regular trash.

Waste Containers

  1. All containers for waste must be labelled with a radioactive sticker, the name of the authorized user, and the isotope stored. When the container is full, the date and amount of isotope contained must be added.
  2. All containers must remain closed except when adding waste.
  3. Solid waste containers:
    • Must be hard-sided, such as a cardboard box.
    • Must be lined with a plastic bag.
    • Must have a closeable lid.
  4. Liquid waste containers:
    • Gallon size or larger only.
    • Do not fill completely full. Leave at least 3" headspace.
    • Must have lid that seals securely.


  1. You will be contacted in approximately one half-life of the isotope or quarterly (whichever occurs first) to determine if you have waste to be picked up.  If you are not ready to dispose of your waste, you will be contacted again at intervals of one half-life (or quarterly).  You may also call to request a waste pick up at any time.
  2. Waste which is not properly packaged and labelled will not be picked up.


Pickup request