Environmental Health and Safety

Drain Disposal

Your Guide to What Can Go Down the Drain

Wastewater discharged from inside University of Michigan - Dearborn facilities flows into the sanitary sewer system and is treated at the Detroit Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) prior to discharging into the Detroit River. The purpose of the WWTP is to clean the water at a faster rate than nature. Excessive pollutants prevent the WWTP from thoroughly treating the water.

Pouring other materials (pollutants) down the drain such as chemicals, metals, solids and oils can interfere with the treatment process. For example:

  • Metals and other toxic chemicals may not be treated by the WWTP. Even small quantities of these substances can be harmful to both the WWTP and the environment.
  • Some chemicals 'poison' and kill the microogranisms used in the treatment process.
  • Volatile or corrosive materials damage piping and may endanger the health and safety of workers.
  • Various pollutants can interact with one another, forming more hazardous pollutants. For example, cyanide base reacts with acids, and ammonia and bleach react to form toxic gases.

General Guidelines for Drain Disposal at UM-Dearborn

  1. Liquids Only - No solids, sludges or viscous materials. No insoluble substances retained by a standard No. 8 sieve or having any dimension greater than 1/2 inch (1.27 centimeters).
  2. No RCRA hazardous wastes - Resource Conservation & Recovery Act; See Characteristic (D-codes) & Listed Wastes (F,K,P and U-codes).Some examples of these RCRA hazardous wastes include:
    • Corrosives (pH less than 2 or greater than 12.5)
    • Flammables (flash point less than 140 F)
    • Oxidizers (e.g., perchloric acid, chormic acid, hydrogen peroxide, etc.)
    • Metal-containing wastes
    • Reactive wastes (water, cyanide or sulfide reactive, etc.)
    • Solvents (halogenated and non-halogenated)
    • Unused and/or outdated chemicals (P-codes and U-codes)
  3. No Michigan hazardous wastes or liquid industrial wastes - See Michigan Act 451 Part 111 and the Part 111 Administrative Rules for Michigan's hazardous waste information and Part 121 for liquid industrial waste information.
  4. No Radioactive wastes
  5. No Biohazardous, untreated wastes