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Environmental Management Programs
Air Pollution Management
The Sacramento region is designated as a severe ozone "non-attainment area" by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA). This non-attainment area includes all of Sacramento County and parts of El Dorado, Placer, Solano, Sutter and Yolo counties. During the summer, the region fails to meet both the state and federal health based standard for ozone.
Because the Sacramento Valley is shaped like a bowl, smog presents a critical problem in the summer, when an inversion layer traps pollutants close to the ground, causing unhealthy air quality levels. Vehicles and other mobile sources cause about 70 percent of this region's air pollution problem. The University is working to reduce its impact on local air pollution by providing incentives for students, faculty, and staff to use carpooling, public transit, and other forms of alternative transportation.
Ground-level ozone forms readily in the atmosphere during hot summer weather, but it is not emitted directly into the air. It is formed when Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) go through a photo-chemical reaction in the presence of sunlight. VOCs come from things that evaporate like gasoline, paint fumes, lighter fluid and consumer products. NOx is emitted from motor vehicles, power plants and other sources of combustion like gas-powered lawn and garden equipment.
Stationary air pollution sources from the Sacramento State campus are regulated by the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management Department. The severity of the smog situation in the Sacramento Valley is resulting in greater operating restrictions on campus facilities and equipment. The campus is currently in the process of replacing a number of larger boilers with more efficient units that will greatly reduce NOx emissions and meet new compliance requirements.
Sacramento State has installed two PurpleAir Air Quality Monitors on the roofs of Amador and Sacramento Halls which reports real time air quality measurements at any time.
Waste Water Management
The sanitary sewer system collects residual, commercial and industrial wastewater (sewage) from inside buildings (e.g. toilets, sinks and washing machines) and channels is to a treatment plant where it is filtered and cleaned before being discharged into waterways.
Sewer outflow from the Sacramento State University campus is discharged into the municipal sewer system managed by the City of Sacramento and the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District. The potential exists for sewage to impact the campus and surrounding environment in the event of a sewer backup/overflow. This could result in impacts to both the river through contaminated storm water or seepage into the land resulting in contaminated ground water. The Office of Environmental Health and Safety has worked with campus entities to develop a Sewage Response Procedure (EHS-2000-01) that ensures proper clean-up and protections for both people and the environment. A link to that procedure is listed below under Additional Resources: Wastewater Management.
The State Water Resources Control Board adopted Order Number 2006-0003-DWQ in May 2006 that established Statewide General Waste Discharge Requirements (GWDR) for Sanitary Sewer Systems. Part of the requirements are to have all publicly owned or operated facilities develop a Sewer System Management Plan (SSMP). This would establish a mechanism for reducing Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs) and their impact to water quality and the environment.
Sacramento State is now enrolled for coverage under the program and will be developing a campus SSMP over the next few years. A link to the campus water pollution prevention brochure and to the State Water Board webpage on Sanitary Sewer Overflow Program are listed above.
Hazardous Waste Management
The Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) provides direct service for chemical pick-up and waste disposal. This service is provided at no cost to the Department for routine disposal of hazardous chemicals. Complete the Hazardous Waste Pick-up Request form to arrange for pick-up of the waste chemicals.
Campus hazardous materials users/generators are responsible for property handling and disposing of unwanted chemicals. According to statutes, any chemical that exceeds twice its shelf life or is no longer usable for its intended purpose is deemed hazardous waste; therefore, as soon as possible arrangements must be made for its disposal. Waste chemicals are not to be disposed of in trash containers, in sinks or toilets, or in storm drains.
When starting to fill a new waste container, the user/generator attaches a hazardous waste label to each container and writes the date when the waste was first put into the container or when the chemical was declared a waste (accumulation start date). The user/generator must prepare the hazardous waste disposal label for all of the waste chemicals, e.g., paints, oils, batteries, solvents, cleaners, grease, etc. The user must fill out a Hazardous Waste Container Label for each unwanted chemical, with as much information as known about unwanted chemicals, including
- Generator name,
- Building/Room #
- Physical state (gas, liquid, sludge, slurry, or solid),
- Hazardous properties (reactivity, corrosivity, flammability, toxicity, etc.)
NOTE: When the container is full or 1 year accumulation time, contact EHS for transporting the small containers to EHS's secured, hazardous waste storage facility.
The hazardous waste labels are critical as they are the chief means by which the waste contractor prepares the hazardous waste manifests. The university is responsible/liable for proper handling/disposal of all hazardous waste from "cradle-to-grave" in accordance with regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Department of Toxic Substances (DTSC)
EHS offers training at no cost to campus departments on chemical waste minimization and management. Generators of hazardous waste are required to take initial training on hazardous waste management and refresher training on an annual basis. For campus employees, these training requirements should be listed on your Learning Track. Please contact EHS Front Desk at (916) 278-6119 if you need assistance with training.
Storm Water Management
Storm drains collect water outside of homes and businesses, and they channel the untreated water directly to waterways such as local creeks and the Sacramento and American rivers.
More pollutants reach our waterways through storm drains than through sewage treatment plants and industrial discharges combined. This is due to the fact that much of the storm water flows directly from its source to the creek or river without treatment. To keep our waterways clean and healthy, it is important to keep pollutants out of the storm drain system.
To report spills or illicit discharges into a storm drain contact #82020 or (916) 278-2020.
The State Water Resources Control Board oversees the discharge of storm water into creeks and rivers in California. Under Water Quality Order Number 2003-0005-DWQ, the Sacramento State campus has been issued coverage under the State General Permit. The Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System or MS4 permit requires the campus to develop and implement a Storm Water Management Plan (SWMP). The goal of the plan is to reduce the discharge of pollutants to the maximum extent practicable (MEP) through the use of best management practices (BMPs). Over the period of development and implementation of the plan, the campus office of Environmental Health and Safety will develop programs for each of the following areas:
- Public Education and Outreach
- Public Involvement/Participation
- Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
- Pollution Prevention and Good Housekeeping
- Construction Site Storm Water Management
- Post-Construction Storm Water Management
Information on the EPA and State Water Resources Board storm water programs, along with a link to the campus Storm Water Management Plan, are listed under additional resources above.
Universal waste is a category of hazardous waste that is common to many types of businesses and even households. They pose a lesser risk to people and the environment, so the "Universal Waste Rule" was enacted to make it easier for businesses to properly dispose of them (California Code of Regulations, Title 22, division 4.5, chapter 23). It is important to note that since February 2006, households must also comply with the Universal Waste Rule and properly dispose or recycle these items.
On the Sacramento State campus, departments can request Environmental Health and Safety to pickup Batteries (Alkaline, NiCad, Lithium-Ion) and Lamps (Fluorescent, Metal Halide) by submitting the online form: Battery/Lights Request
- Facilities Services (278-6242) for Consumer Electronic Devices (Computers,video cassette recorders, Digital video disk players/recorders, printers) and Cathode Ray Tubes (monitors, televisions).
Medical Waste Management
The Medical Waste Management Act (Division 104, Part 14 California Health and Safety Code) established the permitting of facilities that generate medical waste. The generator must develop a Medical Waste Management Plan that ensures the proper handling, storage, and disposal of medical waste.
As defined in Section 117690 of the California Health and Safety Code, Medical Waste is defined as meeting both of the following requirements:
- Waste is generated or produced as a result of any of the following actions:
- Diagnosis, treatment or immunization of humans or animals
- Research pertaining to the activities specified in (a)
- Production or testing of biologicals
- Accumulation of properly contained home generated sharps waste
- Removal of a regulated waste from a trauma scene by a trauma scene waste management practicioner.
- The waste is either of the following:
- Biohazardous waste
- Sharps waste
Pharmaceutical waste can be categorized as medical waste, hazardous waste or solid waste. Under Chapter 11 of Title 22, California Code of Regulations, pharmaceutical waste that are regulated under the Medical Waste Management Act are those classified as "California only hazardous wast."