Some laboratories may generate wastes containing a radioisotope(s) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hazardous waste. This unique waste is known as mixed waste. Columbia University’s Mixed Waste Management Program is focused on deciphering the myriad of regulations governing the management and disposal of mixed waste.
In regulatory terms, a hazardous waste is a chemical waste that exhibits at least one of four characteristics—ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, or toxicity—or is specifically listed on one of four hazardous wastes lists developed EPA and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). Anytime a radioisotope is combined with a hazardous waste, a mixed waste has been generated.
Mixed waste is regulated by EPA, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and the Department of Energy (DOE). At Columbia University, EH&S manages the hazardous waste portion in accordance with EPA and NYSDEC regulations, while Radiation Safety manages the radioactive portion, while adhering to NRC regulations.