December 31st, 2015
The FDA has embarked on “Project Clean sweep”, a lab chemical dispose initiative for alll their old and out of date chemicals at their various locations around the United States. We were tasked to handle the FDA Northeast Region Lab’s chemical waste disposal efforts. This is the largest single clean out effort in this lab’s history according to Allan Bobadilla, the FDA’s Industrial Hygienist who headed up the effort at this location.
The hazardous waste material generated is the result of a total inventory clean out effort of the Queens facility and several smaller labs in the New York and Northern New Jersey area. The hazardous waste cleanup efforts required a great deal of caution because of the age of the containers, one of which had an expiration date of Nov. 1983. These materials are old and several have over the years under gone chemical changes due to degradation and vapor releases. We had several bottles that broke just gathering them up to bring here for the clean up, that makes you worry. I will feel a lot safer knowing that these hazardous wastes are being disposed of in the proper manner.
This was a large and technical lab pack which covered about every hazard class that there is. We had everything from your standard flammable acids, base, pesticides to Dangerous when Wet and Explosive Dinitro compounds. The original inventory list for this job ran over twenty pages and more material was added. I was concerned about getting everything done and correctly segregated, inventoried, listed and packed within the three days that I had allotted for the job.
We came in with just myself, another chemist and one technician and a whole lot of waste. To save money and optimize truck space our technician set out to pour down and bulk the various flammables and other solvents that were included in the waste to be disposed of. When I first looked at the job along with Allan we had done a rough count and figured it to be maybe a total of 2 or 3 bulk drums. Sonny ended up pouring down six full 55 gallon drums. While this was going on myself and another chemist talked the job of segregating and packing up the rest of the material. Jim Monticello, our Chief Environmental Manager, came out to help us on our second day there and having the extra skilled person there was a huge help.
Allan Bobadilla, our contact there couldn’t have been more helpful. He stayed late with us the first two days and came in early the last day just so we could get everything done. This was the only way we were going to be able to get everything done in time for the truck. Allan enabled us to stay late and work early to finish on time. He went above and beyond what is the norm and was key in this being a successful job. Allan was very pleased with what we accomplished and how well the crew performed.
The second part of FDA’s clean sweep is slated to be in April and he has asked us to return for that one. He said he has had several vendors in and out of there over the last ten years that he has been in charge there and said that we were by far the best that he had. Other proposals he received indicated it would take a crew of 5 or 6 chemist’s working for 8 to 10 days to tackle a lab pack of that size. MXI did it all and more in three days time with a crew half of the size. This just goes to show how good our people here are and just how hard they work. This was a good job with a good and knowledgeable contact to work with. I look forward to working with FDA Northeast Regional Lab in the future.