Business Policies and Procedures Manual
Chapter 20: Property

Contaminated Surplus Property

(Appendix 3: Chemical Contamination)

BPPM 20.77

For more information contact:
   Surplus Stores

Form: Item Evaluation

Chemical Contamination

Items used in the course of laboratory, medical, or shop/industrial processes that are potentially contaminated with chemicals must be properly decontaminated. Departments must also complete and affix Item Evaluation forms in order for Surplus Stores to accept the items.

Item Evaluation

The department must attach a completed Item Evaluation form listing the specific chemical(s) that caused the contamination and indicating the method of decontamination. Contact Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) for more information; telephone 509-335-3041.

Chemical Decontamination

Personal Protective Equipment

To avoid unnecessary exposure to surface contaminants while cleaning, wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE); e.g., safety goggles, gloves, laboratory coat (see SPPM 2.60). Contact EH&S for PPE selection assistance; telephone 509-335-3041.

Respiratory protection may be required when using organic solvents to clean an item that cannot fit in a fume hood (see SPPM 2.62).

Cleaning Methods

Decontaminate the item in accordance with the Laboratory Safety Manual and/or the chemical-specific standard operating procedure (SOP).

Detergent and Water

Studies indicate that scrubbing with detergent and water removes a large percentage of chemical contamination from environmental surfaces. Generally, departments are to use this basic cleaning technique for decontaminating the surfaces of scientific equipment which contain chemical residues.


Dispose of the resulting rinsate from scrubbing with detergent and water by pouring it down the drain.

Rinsate is defined as the liquid generated from the rinsing of any equipment or container that has come in direct contact with a chemical contaminant.


If the chemical contamination is known to be extremely persistent and is more soluble in a nonaqueous medium, department personnel are to complete the following steps, in the order indicated. Contact EH&S for assistance with determining the persistence of the chemical.

  1. Wipe the contaminated surface with an appropriate solvent.
  2. Collect solvent rinsate and solvent-soaked wipes used during the decontamination process and manage as chemical waste according to SPPM 5.66 and the EH&S Chemical Waste Handling Guidelines.
    Contact EH&S for more information; telephone 509-335-3041.
  3. After wiping the surface of the item with an appropriate solvent and collecting the solvent rinsate, wash the surface with detergent and rinse the water down the drain. Do not collect the soap and water used to wash the surface of the equipment.
Mercury Thermometers

Prior to surplusing, departments are responsible for managing all intact or broken mercury thermometers that are not integral to the function of an item as chemical waste in accordance with the guidelines of the WSU Hazardous Waste Management Program. See SPPM 5.66 and the online Chemical Collection Request form. Contact EH&S for more information; telephone 509-335-3041.

A department may sell a thermometer that is an integral component of an item and is intact. However, the department must identify the thermometer using an Item Evaluation form.

See also Appendix 5E: Mercury.

Mercury-Containing Devices

A department may offer items for surplus which contain unbroken mercury-containing devices that are integral to the function of the equipment. However, the department must identify each device on an Item Evaluation form.

Revisions:  See BPPM 20.77 revision history.