Environmental Health and Safety

Environmental Safety Select Programs

The Environmental Health and Safety team maintains information on the following policies and programs specific to Ithaca College:

Asbestos Management (opens in new window)

PCB Ballasts

Fluorescent light fixtures contain a ballast to regulate incoming voltages. Ballast units are composed of a transformer and a capacitor. The small capacitors contain approximately 1 to 1.5 ounces of PCB fluid. A tar-like substance designed to insulate and muffle noise surrounds these components. They are enclosed in a metal housing.

When a ballast fails, excessive heat can melt or burn the tar material, creating a characteristic foul odor. During ballast failure, the capacitor may break open and leak PCBs. Therefore, all ballast failures should be treated as a PCB-containing situation unless the ballast label indicates no PCB present.

Notification Procedure -- Leaking or smoking ballasts should be treated as emergencies and responded to as such. Occupants should turn off lights, open windows if possible, vacate the room, close the door, and notify the Offices of Public Safety and Emergency Management and Facilities.

Pesticide Application

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has stringent regulations pertaining to the use of pesticides. The regulations are intended to reduce the risk of illness or injury to workers and handlers from exposure to pesticides. As required, Ithaca College is registered with New York State to allow the application of pesticides on campus. Additionally, all facilities' employees who apply pesticides on campus complete the necessary training and are certified by the state as commercial pesticide applicators.

Refrigerants or Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)

The Federal Clean Air Act was created, in part, to prevent the release -- and to phase out the use -- of chemicals that contribute to the depletion of the ozone layer. Ithaca College has a refrigerant management plan to comply with Clean Air Act requirements. These requirements entail specific procedures for inventory, servicing, and disposal.

All products that were manufactured with, or contain, chlorofluorocarbons must be labeled appropriately. All CFCs must be captured and recycled while working on equipment. Only certified personnel are allowed to perform these operations. In addition, all CFCs must be drained from the equipment prior to disposal. Office of Facilities staff manages this responsibility.

To arrange for pick up of a refrigerant-containing appliance, contact facilities at 4-3225 or file a service request online.

Storage Tanks

The College has above-ground petroleum storage tanks. The tanks are registered with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. EH&S members inspect all of the tanks on a monthly basis to ensure they are not leaking or otherwise damaged.

Disposal of Electronic Equipment

Computers, monitors, televisions and other electronic equipment, rechargeable batteries, and fluorescent light bulbs contain relatively small amounts of heavy metals such as lead and mercury and are not allowed to be mixed with regular trash.

These items are known as "universal waste" and to keep heavy metals out of the environment, they must be recycled. (Regular household-type incandescent light bulbs and alkaline batteries can be placed in the normal trash.)

"Universal waste" is a term used by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to identify certain widely generated hazardous wastes. Individually these items pose little threat to the environment or our health. When generated collectively, such as on a college campus, these small amounts can add up and create an environmental hazard. As a result, Ithaca College's management of this waste stream is closely monitored by the EPA and the DEC.

The following are the College procedures for proper disposal of universal wastes. Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with them.

Instructions for Staff & Faculty

  • Computer equipment: Contact the ITS Helpdesk 274-1000 or email helpdesk@ithaca.edu to file a service request to have the items picked up.
  • Televisions and miscellaneous electronic equipment: Request pick-up by filing a service request with facilities online.
  • Fluorescent and other non-incandescent light bulbs: Request pick-up by filing a service request with facilities online.
  • Rechargeable and lithium batteries: Send email to tryan@ithaca.edu (EH&S) to request pick-up or bring to public safety-EH&S during regular business hours.

Universal waste items can also be brought to the OSCAR Room-Phillips Hall Room 196.

Instructions for Students

Small universal waste items, such as fluorescent light bulbs and rechargeable batteries, can be dropped off at any of the following Residential Life Area or Satellite Offices:

  • East Tower
  • Terrace 7
  • Emerson Hall
  • Rowland Hall

Other Drop-Off Locations are:

  • Garden 27 - Mail Room
  • Circles Community Center
  • OSCAR Room - Phillips Hall Room 196

For larger items submit a service request online to have the item(s) picked up.

DO NOT throw out broken fluorescent bulbs (or any other damaged e-waste). Instead, please call Facilities 274-3225 or file a service request online to have it picked up.

For more information, visit US EPA Wastes Homepage.