We get to design and build laboratories here at LCS Constructors. And this comes with a whole host of interesting design challenges that the average building company doesn’t get to address. Here’s a look at one construction feature that most people take for granted: the building’s waste management system.
If you work in a lab, you know that we’re talking about way more than the toilets. But a toilet can form a useful analogy of the other waste management techniques that we have to implement in our laboratory designs. Compared to the old days, when we used chamber pots and outhouses, a toilet is a unique system designed to remove “hazardous” waste from the premises in a streamlined and efficient way, while minimizing air pollutants (odors) and eliminating the need for human contact with the waste substance.
Same story in a lab. Wastes produced in laboratory conditions are not just disagreeable or odiferous–they can be highly toxic, explosive, or downright dangerous in more ways than one. And because of environmental factors, they can’t always just be flushed down the toilet or washed down the drain. So where do they go? And what design features have to be implemented into the very blueprints of a lab in order to ensure that the people working there have the most seamless, streamlined process possible for safely disposing of these wastes?
Here are some of the waste management features we can install.
- Glass piping under cup sink drains – spilled liquids are hard to observe here, and could react with other spilled chemicals later. Glass piping allows for a visual inspection that will trigger appropriate cleanup
- Chemical Storage – separate containers, cabinets, and shelving for chemicals that are flammable, caustic, corrosive, or otherwise volatile. These storage areas must be corrosion-free and, in some cases, must include backup measures to protect against spills or leaks.
- Safety Showers – If contaminants must be washed off a person, where do they go? We follow proper drain protection procedures to reduce the risk of accidental contamination.
- Correct Plumbing Pipes – It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that cast iron piping is not the best match for accidental contact with acidic wastes. If we’re renovating an older building to convert it into a lab, we will fully inspect the piping and replace them with acid-resistant materials, if necessary.
- Protection against accidental spills – If needed, we can install features such as sinks with a lip and easy-to-access sites for spill kits.
Whatever your laboratory activities, we have a solution to prioritize your safety and facilitate the management of chemical waste. Contact us today to discuss a plan for your lab design.