What is the Laboratory operations Code of Practice?

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The Laboratory Code of Practice is a regulation for managing waste materials generated by laboratory operations. Laboratory operators in the region must follow the code. Laboratory wastes can include:

  • Heavy (elemental) metals
  • Solvents
  • Pesticides
  • Reagents, fixatives and stains
  • pH imbalances

Why are laboratory wastes a concern in our environment?

Waste from analytical laboratories is generally more diverse in composition than waste from other commercial businesses. Discharges of contaminants from a single laboratory may be relatively small, however, collectively they can have a significant impact on the sewer system and the marine environment. Contaminants of concern include:

  • Metals nickel, copper, zinc, silver and mercury
  • Chemicals such as cyanide, phenolic compounds, spent solvents, formaldehyde
  • Acids and bases
  • Used samples, reaction products and cleaners.

Laboratory chemicals can also create hazards such as fire, explosion, air and water pollution, corrosion of sewer pipes or damage to sewage treatment facilities and processes. The code of practice was created to ensure safe disposal of these materials.

What can laboratory operators do?

Laboratory wastes are regulated by all levels of government. Operators are responsible for understanding and adhering to every regulation set out by each level of government.

Metals and other contaminants are now much less common in the waters off our region, thanks in large part to source control efforts. Continued effort will ensure our ocean is cleaner and safer for everyone.

By following the laboratory regulations you will protect our environment, reduce your own liability and provide a greener, improved business image in your community. Regulations require laboratories to:

  • Refrain from discharging prohibited waste into the sewer system
  • Install monitoring points downstream of the laboratory discharges and upstream of discharge of domestic (washroom) waste
  • Ensure the proper storage and disposal of chemicals and waste
  • Create a spill response plan
  • Maintain written records

Create an Environmentally Sustainable Business

Other wastes from laboratories can also be a concern. Follow the best management practices outlined in the guide book and follow its pollution prevention principles.

  • Choose products with less packaging and those made from recycled materials
  • Work with companies that allow the return of leftover chemicals and containers
  • Avoid the storage of chemicals in fume hoods
  • Recycle as much non-hazardous waste as possible
  • Fit all sinks and drains with proper plugs to avoid chemical contamination of sewers
  • Eliminate and reduce the generation of polluting byproducts
  • Keep machines and chemical storage areas clean and well-maintained

By reducing waste overall and disposing of waste in the proper manner, you can help protect our region's environment.

Read the Regulations

The Code of Practice for laboratory operations, developed under the Sewer Use Bylaw, gives a detailed description of the regulations that laboratories need to follow.

Bylaw Schedule

What are prohibited & restricted wastes?

Read the list of prohibited and restricted wastes, including details on maximum allowable concentrations.