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University of Kansas to Pay $39,431 Civil Penalty and Launch Project to Resolve Hazardous Waste Violations

Release Date: 09/29/2008
Contact Information: Chris Whitley, 913-551-7394,

Environmental News


(Kansas City, Kan., Sept. 29, 2008) - The University of Kansas (KU) will pay a $39,431 civil penalty and spend at least $41,585 in additional funds on training and documentation improvements to settle allegations related to improper handling of hazardous wastes on its Lawrence campus, under a legal agreement made final today with EPA Region 7.

In December 2007, EPA staff conducted a compliance evaluation inspection of KU's facilities, including its Hazardous Waste Storage Building and various laboratories in Burt, Malott and McCullom halls. As a result of the inspection, KU was cited for multiple violations of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and Kansas hazardous waste regulations, for failing to properly label, document, handle and store hazardous wastes at those locations.

According to a consent agreement and final order lodged today, those violations included:

  • Failure to conduct a proper hazardous waste determination on any of eight solid waste streams that it was generating, including Collodion, n-Butyllithium, 50 percent methanol solution, casting resin, two-part coating, and three unknown hazardous wastes.
  • Failure to meet regulatory requirements as a large quantity generator of hazardous waste, including the proper marking and closing of collection containers, and for improperly treating hazardous waste by allowing solvents and solvent-soaked rags to evaporate in an equipment repair and fabrication room prior to disposal as solid waste.

Besides paying a $39,431 civil penalty to the United States, the consent agreement with EPA Region 7 requires KU to implement a Laboratory Waste Stream Identification and Waste Minimization/Pollution Prevention Assessment Project.

The project, which is expected to cost at least $41,585 and must be completed within two years, will involve collecting data and making evaluations of 301 laboratories in KU's Chemistry, Biology, Medicinal Chemistry, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, and Pharmacology & Toxicology departments, and at its Museum of Natural History. Information gathered by the project will be used to better identify waste streams and pollution prevention and waste minimization opportunities on campus.

The project also requires KU to conduct additional training for personnel in each of the affected departments, to provide education and information about waste minimization, pollution prevention and waste stream handling.

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The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act regulates hazardous waste. Learn more

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