Chemical Inventory FAQs

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Background

Cradle-to-grave management and tracking of laboratory chemicals is required by various regulations and enforced by City, County, State, and Federal (DHS and OSHA) regulators. This requires that chemicals be managed and tracked beginning with receipt on-site, during storage and use in laboratories, and ending with ultimate disposition through consumption or disposal as chemical waste.

In order to maintain a cradle-to-grave chemical inventory database, EH&S processes chemicals at UNR Central Receiving and delivers chemicals directly to chemical purchasers on a daily basis. The EH&S department also removes full, partially full, and empty chemical containers as part of the process. Finally, maintaining accurate chemical use/storage location information necessitates that EH&S perform periodic chemical inventory spot checks in laboratories and other storage locations. The use of unique barcode tags on every container facilitates the entire chemical inventory process. In October of 2018, EH&S began using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) barcode stickers to manage chemical inventory.

Instructions: Chemical Package Delivery

If you purchase chemicals for use at UNR, you will need to provide EH&S with your name, the name of your faculty research advisor (aka PI, or Principal Investigator), and the specific building and room location where your chemicals are stored (this will be the delivery location for your chemical packages). Other contact information (phone, email) will need to be provided to EH&S in the event you need to be contacted regarding package delivery.

To facilitate delivery accuracy, you should ask your chemical supplier to complete the “ship to” labels as suggested in this document. Incomplete or incorrect package labeling may cause delays in delivery, as EH&S will need to investigate where to deliver your package. If you have more than one delivery location, please see more specific information in the questions and answers section of this document. Cryogenic cylinders and gas cylinders (other than lecture bottles) are excluded from this program and will not be handled by EH&S staff, although they will be inventoried during the “physical in-lab” inventory.

Exceptions

  • EH&S will not deliver chemicals to Stead SAGE, Main Station Farm, or Redfield campus areas.
  • EH&S will not deliver cryogenic liquids or gas cylinders.
  • EH&S does not handle or deliver items shipped on dry ice.
  • EH&S will not deliver insects, animals or other items marked as biological material.
  • EH&S does not handle or deliver items for Facilities Operations and Maintenance areas.

Instructions: Empty Container Pick-up and Removal from Rooms/Labs

EH&S staff remove empty, barcoded chemical containers.

  • Containers must be “empty” – very small amounts of residue are OK provided they could not spill out if the container were inverted at any angle.
  • EH&S staff perform periodic sweeps of entire buildings to collect empty containers.
  • Empty containers are also collected (without a special request) when hazardous waste teams remove chemical waste containers.
  • To specifically arrange to have empty, barcoded chemicals removed from your lab, contact the Chemical Inventory Specialist, Kris Kruse, at (775) 327-2271 or kruse@unr.edu. An EH&S staff member will remove the empty containers within a couple of business days.
  • Empty, barcoded containers will be deleted from your inventory.

If containers are found to not be empty, they will not be removed. Instead, lab personnel will be required to submit full or partially full chemical containers for waste pick up using the online waste submission form. Pure chemicals that are removed by the EH&S hazardous waste process are also deleted from ChemTracker after they are removed from you lab.

Procedures and links for requesting chemical waste removal can be found at EH&S Waste Management. Additional information about chemical inventory management can be found at EH&S Chemical Inventory.

Chemical Package Delivery

What do the UNR Bar Codes look like?

UNR barcode stickers have evolved over time. Early barcode stickers were white stickers with black lines and seven digits numbers; each bar code number being a unique number. Over the various generations of stickers “University of Nevada Reno” and “UNR – Chem ID” were added to the stickers.

Beginning in October of 2018, the EH&S began using new Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) barcode stickers to manage chemical inventory. The RFID tags are encoded with an 8-digit barcode number which is visibly printed along with UNR CHEM ID (see picture d). The RFID stickers are designed to protrude off the side of the container as “flag tags”.

a.) Early barcode sticker 2004-2005
Barcode label with number below barcode

b.) Barcode sticker with “University of Nevada Reno” used 2005-2007
Barcode label with "University of Nevada, Reno" above barcode and number below barcode

c.) Barcode sticker with “UNR – Chem ID” used 2007-2018
Barcode label with "UNR-CHEM ID" text above barcode and number below barcode

d.) The current RFID barcode flag-tag sticker
Barcode flag tag with "UNR CHEM ID" text above barcode and number below barcode

Which packages will EH&S deliver?

Any packages containing chemicals that EH&S inventories at Central Receiving. In other words, only those packages for which EH&S applies Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) barcode sticker.

Will EH&S deliver items purchased from the UNR Chemstores?

No. EH&S does not have sufficient staff to be involved with the transfer of chemicals purchased from the UNR Chemstores.

Where will EH&S deliver chemical packages?

EH&S will deliver chemical packages directly to the rooms where the items will be used and stored.

Does this program include areas like Stead SAGE (NTF), Main Station Farm or Redfield areas?

No. Packages for these locations do not arrive at Central Receiving.

Does this program include the buildings on Valley Road?

Yes, but only to UNR affiliates, research groups, and staff. Non-university entities and outside agencies are not included.

Which packages will Central Receiving continue to deliver (to mail stops)?

All packages not handled or inventoried by EH&S. In other words, anything that does not have an RFID sticker.

Whom do I contact with questions about tracking package delivery at UNR?

For non-chemical packages, contact the Central Receiving at (775) 784-4988. For chemical package contact Chemical Inventory Specialist at (775) 327-2271 or kruse@unr.edu.

How will EH&S know where to deliver chemical packages?

EH&S has an established database that associates people (the “ship to” person) with room locations where they store and use chemicals.

How will EH&S track chemical package deliveries?

EH&S uses handheld electronic devices to track package delivery.

How can I track the delivery status of my chemical packages?

For non-chemical packages, contact the Central Receiving at (775) 784-4988. For chemical packages contact the Chemical Inventory Specialist at (775) 327-2271 or kruse@unr.edu.

What if the recipient (the “ship to” person) is not present when EH&S tries to deliver packages?

If the “ship to” person is not present at the delivery drop-off point, EH&S will ask other people in the same room (if present) to sign for the package. If no one is present in the room, EH&S staff will drop the packages off in the room and an automatic email is sent by the delivery software to the “ship to” person informing them of the delivery in their absence.

What if a package is delivered to UNR with no “ship to” name and no mail stop number?

All packages delivered to UNR are first received by Central Receiving before transferring the custody of chemical packages to EH&S. Central Receiving is the primary group who determines if packages can be accepted from the shipping companies. If a package does not have a ship name or mailstop it will not be accepted and it will be returned to the sender.

What if a chemical package is delivered with no “ship to” name, but has a mail stop and or a department name?

The package will be accepted by Central Receiving and transferred to EH&S custody; however, delivery will be delayed until the department can be contacted and the “ship to” recipient can be determined.

How should chemical packages be addressed to expedite shipping?

We suggest you label as shown (if the supplier shipping label can support it); however, the basic minimum is a full name and mail stop number:

Your Name, building abbreviation room number (see the UNR campus map)
Your Department/MS #, or “Mail Stop”
University of Nevada Reno
1664 N. Virginia Street
Reno, NV 89557

Example 1:
Jane Doe, HMS 202
Microbiology/Mail Stop 0320
University of Nevada Reno
1664 N. Virginia Street
Reno, NV 89557

Example 2:
John Doe, CB 205
Chemistry/MS 0216
University of Nevada Reno
1664 N. Virginia Street
Reno, NV 89557

If your package is labeled as shown below, delivery will be delayed or possibly rejected by Central Receiving, until the specific person and delivery location can be determined:

Example 1:
Chemistry Department
University of Nevada Reno
Reno, NV 89557

Example 2:
John [with or without full name]
University of Nevada Reno
Reno, NV 89557

Our research group or the faculty I work for is changing buildings or rooms, how can I ensure my package delivery address gets updated to the new location?

Inform EH&S inventory staff of the change by sending a message to the Chemical Inventory Specialist at (775) 327-2271 or kruse@unr.edu.

I work for two different faculty or departments, how can I ensure my package gets delivered to the correct one?

Assuming you work for two different departments with different mail stop addresses, inclusion of the mail stop number will ensure proper delivery. If possible, include the building and room information on the shipping label as shown above.

If you are in a situation not described in this document, please contact the Chemical Inventory Specialist at (775) 327-2271 or kruse@unr.edu.

The group or faculty person I work for has multiple rooms with chemical usage and storage. How will EH&S know where to take the package?

  • Inform the EH&S staff member who is delivering your package of your preferred delivery location.
  • Or, contact the Chemical Inventory Specialist at (775) 327-2271 or kruse@unr.edu.
  • Or, after the package is dropped off, inform EH&S of the items final location by sending the barcode number and room location to the Chemical Inventory Specialist at (775) 327-2271 or kruse@unr.edu.

Will EH&S deliver cryogenic liquids?

No. Cryogenic liquids are delivered by the supplier directly to their rooms of use. These procedures will not change.

Will EH&S deliver large compressed gas cylinders?

  • No, EH&S will not deliver large compressed gas cylinders. In the Chemistry Building, large compressed gas cylinders are delivered to ChemStores and individual research groups move them to their labs when they purchase them from ChemStores. These procedures will not change.
  • For the rest of the UNR campus, large compressed gas cylinders containing commonly used gases (air, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, etc.) are delivered by the supplier directly to their rooms of use. These procedures will not change.
  • Smaller gas bottles and specialty mix custom gases that come through Central Receiving will be delivered by EH&S.

Will EH&S deliver items that are shipped packed on dry ice?

No. EH&S does not handle packages that are shipped on dry ice.

I paid extra for express overnight delivery of my chemicals. Will they be delivered to me the same day they arrived at UNR?

Yes. Overnight or rush delivery items will be identified by the exterior markings on the shipping label and will be given first priority for inventory processing so that they can be delivered the same day.

Exceptions may occur if express items are delivered to UNR late in the business day (after 2PM), or if the address label is incorrectly or incompletely filled-out.

Will items shipped as standard or ground shipping be delivered to rooms the same day they are delivered to UNR?

All items delivered to UNR before 11:00 am will be delivered to the final destination the same day. Items delivered to UNR after 11:00 am will be held over for delivery until the next day. If you have an urgent delivery, please contact the Chemical Inventory Specialist at (775) 327-2271 or kruse@unr.edu.

Can we add newly delivered chemicals to ChemTracker ourselves?

No, this is not necessary. EH&S staff will electronically add new chemicals to your faculty’s inventory in the building and room they were delivered to. ChemTracker will be updated the afternoon of the same the day after all chemicals deliveries have been completed.

EH&S recommends that you confirm you can see your new chemicals in ChemTracker by logging in and searching for them at the end of the day, or the next day, after they were delivered.

If you can’t find delivered items in your inventory in ChemTracker, contact the Chemical Inventory Specialist at (775) 327-2271 or kruse@unr.edu. Also contact the Chemical Inventory Specialist at (775) 327-2271 or kruse@unr.edu if any changes (room number, storage location, etc.) are needed for your delivered chemicals. An EH&S staff member will reply when the changes have been made.

We purchase chemicals from ChemStores, how do we get those added to our inventory in ChemTracker?

When you make a chemical purchase at ChemStores, you will be asked to fill out a page listing the chemicals purchased and the UNR CHEM ID RFID barcode number. The data is collected and frequently updated by EH&S Staff.

What do I do if I receive a chemical that hasn't been intercepted and bar-coded but should have been?

Occasionally EH&S staff overlook chemical containing packages. Send an email to the Chemical Inventory Specialist at kruse@unr.edu with your name, the building and room where the chemical is used/stored and a phone number where you can be reached. An EH&S staff member will visit your lab to inventory the item. Please keep the box until after EH&S arrives so that we can better understand why the item was overlooked, but proceed with your use of the item.

I want to use ChemTracker to look at my chemical inventory on-line? How do I get a ChemTracker user account?

Contact the Chemical Inventory Specialist at (775) 327-2271 or kruse@unr.edu and she will create an account for you.

What is ChemTracker?

ChemTracker is a web-based software program used by EH&S to manage the UNR Chemical Inventory and to generate regulatory reports. The University pays the licensing fees for UNR to use ChemTracker; there are no direct costs to UNR faculty, staff, students or departments.

Empty Container Pick-up and Removal from Rooms and Labs

Are we required to use the on-line form to request empty containers be removed?

No. If you have hazardous/chemical waste that you have requested to be picked up, just place your empty containers next to the hazardous waste containers. EH&S staff will remove the empties when they remove the hazardous waste containers.

Are there specific empty containers that EH&S will pick up from labs/rooms? Are there containers EH&S will not pick-up?

Only containers that have been barcoded by EH&S with the UNR barcode sticker need to be picked up by EH&S.

Empty containers that are not barcoded can be disposed of in the regular trash or as lab trash.

Can I dispose of empty chemical containers in the blue plastic recycling bins located in hallways?

No. Do not put empty chemical containers in the single-stream recycle cans. Recyclers will not accept containers that were used for chemicals (even if they have been cleaned.) The single stream recycle container can only be used for the items listed on the containers.

Single-stream recycle can with universal sign for do not use.
No chemical containers in recycle bins.

What if I break a bottle that has been bar coded, what do I do?

If a spill occurs and EH&S responds to clean up, the barcode will be recorded by EH&S and the container will be removed from the inventory database.

If a spill occurs and the clean-up is managed by the room occupants, the broken bottle can be disposed in a “Lab Trash” waste container. You can report the bar code number of a broken bottle to the Chemical Inventory Specialist at (775) 327-2271 or kruse@unr.edu.

Can we re-use empty containers?

In general, EH&S discourages the re-use of empty chemical containers but yes, you can. You will need to provide EH&S with the barcode number from empty containers so it can be removed from the inventory database. Contact the Chemical Inventory Specialist at (775) 327-2271 or kruse@unr.edu with the UNR barcode number for each container you are going to reuse.

If you re-use chemical containers, please appropriately re-label them to accurately describe the contents and their hazards.

Please do not remove the UNR barcode stickers on re-used containers, instead cross out the barcode stickers with a black marker, which will be a visual indicator for EH&S staff not to inventory re-used containers during lab inventory visits. Examples of crossed out bar codes are shown in the included images.

Example 1: How to cross out barcode stickers
Bottle with thick black inked in X over the UNR barcode.

Example 2: How to cross out barcode stickers
Bottle with thick black inked in X over the UNR barcode.

Do not re-use containers that contained U.S. Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), or "P listed" chemicals. They are identified with a yellow sticker titled “ACUTELY TOXIC CHEMICAL.” These containers need to be submitted through the University's waste management as hazardous waste even when they are empty.

Acutely Toxic Chemical Sticker on bottle:
A bright yellow sticker on a chemical bottle stating “ACUTELY TOXIC CHEMICAL.  Do NOT reuse this container when empty.  Submit to EH&S for chemical pick up.”

There is a residual amount of the chemical in the bottle, is this considered empty?

Yes, containers are considered empty if no more chemical comes out freely when the container is turned upside down, even though a small residual amount may remain inside.

Should I evaporate liquids to the atmosphere to empty out containers containing liquids?

No. Disposal of chemicals by evaporation is a violation of UNR’s Air Emissions permit as specifically stated in the Additional Conditions item #3: “Waste materials containing volatile chemicals shall not be disposed of by evaporation to the atmosphere”. A container with a small residual amount of liquid is considered empty and should be capped and submitted to EH&S for pick-up.

Should I remove the UNR Barcode stickers off of bottles?

No. If you are going to re-use the container follow the instructions in the “can we re-use empty containers” section.

If a container is broken follow the instructions in the “what if I break a bar coded bottle” section.

If you are not sure, or have a circumstance not described in this document, please contact the Chemical Inventory Specialist at (775) 327-2271 or kruse@unr.edu.

We delete empty chemical containers from our inventory in ChemTracker. Should we continue to do this?

No. EH&S staff will delete all the empty containers from ChemTracker that get picked-up. However there may be some lag time if empty containers are not specifically requested to be picked up.

To expedite empty container pick up, use the on-line waste forms on EH&S’s web site and pick the “Empty Chemical Container Pickup” button.

Whom should I contact with questions about the chemical inventory program?

For questions, comments or suggestions regarding chemical inventory management processes, contact the Chemical Inventory Specialist, Kris Kruse, at (775) 327-2271 or kruse@unr.edu.