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Radwaste FAQs
Q. How do I store my radwaste?
A. Radwaste should be segregated by half-life.  Anything with a half-life greater than 120 days can all go together.  All isotopes with a half-life of less than 120 days should be separated from each other if space allows.  Radwaste should be shielded if necessary (gammas with lead; betas with plastic).   Radwaste, dry or liquid, should not be allowed to overflow and should remain capped at all times when not in use.  We recommend that you keep as few radwaste containers in the lab as possible.  Once they become full or are not being used, please send them to Radiation Safety for disposal.
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Q. Where do I get containers in which to store my radwaste?
A. Radiation Safety provides the containers, free of charge, which can be picked up from the building loading docks according to the published radwaste pickup schedule.  We provide 2 sizes each of dry and liquid radwaste containers.
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Q. Can I hold my waste for decay in the lab?
A. Typically, no.  Except in rare pre-approved cases that require strict documentation and enforcement, all radwastes must be collected in the lab and then disposed of through the Radiation Safety Office.  If you would like more details on the decay-in-storage guidelines, please call Radiation Safety at 362-3476.
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Q. How do I package my radwaste for disposal?
A. For dry radwaste, the inner clear bag must be twisted and taped shut.  The outer yellow bag should be folded over and sealed with a single piece of tape.  Lids must be on both dry and liquid containers.  DOT regulations require that you perform a wipe test and meter survey on each container.   The wipe test must cover at least 300 square centimeters and be recorded in dpm/100 square cm, while the meter survey must be recorded in mrem/hr.  Sharps must be placed in secondary containment within the dry radwaste container.  Empty stock vials may be wrapped in absorbent paper and disposed in dry radwaste containers.  Liquid radwaste pH must be between 4.0 and 10.0, inclusive.  Lead, including lead vial containers (pigs), should be surveyed and turned into the radwaste truck for recycling in a non-RAM container.  Plastic pigs may be placed into the dry radwaste container.  All parcels for disposal must have the proper radwaste transfer form completed and attached.  Radwaste parcels should be taken to the loading docks and turned over to the Radiation Safety driver according to the published radwaste pickup schedule.  Radwaste should never be left at the docks unattended.
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Q. What do I do with used scintillation vials?
A. Used scintillation vials need not be emptied.  Keep the lids on and restack them in their original trays, if possible.  Place the trays into a double-lined cardboard box.  If using the original trays is not possible, place used scintillation vials in a cardboard box double-lined with plastic liners, or in a double-lined fiber drum provided by Radiation Safety.  Attach the proper radwaste transfer form to the outer container and bring the vials to the loading dock according to the published radwaste pickup schedule.  The Radiation Safety Office highly recommends the use of non-flammable scintillation cocktail.  A list of approved cocktails is provided for your reference.  The policies listed above relate to disposal of non-flammable scintillation vial radwaste only.   Please contact the Radiation Safety Office for information regarding disposal of scintillation vials containing flammable cocktail.
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Q. Where do I get Waste Transfer Forms?
A. You can either pick some up from the Radiation Safety Office (4550 Scott Avenue - Olin Residence Hall) or from the radwaste truck at the regularly scheduled pick-up.
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Q. My radwaste bills have never been so high.  What happened?
A. The Radiation Safety Office has changed the way we bill for radwaste services.  We are now combining all radwaste charges into one bill that is sent to your administrative staff monthly, as opposed to sending several smaller bills during the course of a month.  You will find that your monthly expenses equal out to the same dollar amount, but that they are all received by you at one time.
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Q. How do I get approval for drain disposal of liquid RAM?
A. Prior to using any sink for disposal of RAM - even if you've moved your lab and had drain disposal previously - you need to submit an Authorization Request For Low Level Radioactive Materials Drain Disposal.   Once approved, you will receive the disposal guidance document, a sticker to place on the drain, and a log to document every disposal.
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Q. How do I get to the receiving dock to dispose of my radwaste?
A. Regularly scheduled radwaste pickups are scheduled for the following docks at the Medical School: BJ South (in West Building, off Euclid, near the morgue); McDonnell Science (North side of the building along Scott Ave.); BJ North (in the basement of CAM, off Forest Park Parkway and Euclid); and CSRB (off Parkview Place).  By request pick-up locations include but are not limited to: Danforth Campus (at the south side of Rebstock along Forsythe), 4511 Forest Park, CID, Cortex and 4444 Forest Park.  For pick-up at these or other locations, please call in advance 314-362-3476.
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Q. Why are scheduled radwaste pickups at the loading docks no longer available every week?
A. Radiation Safety reduced the number of scheduled waste pick-ups at the loading docks due to business needs and a significant decrease in production of radioactive waste.   Radiation Safety now picks up radwaste at the loading docks every other week.   For more information, please visit our radwaste page.
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