In this case study, excess hazardous materials from a pharmaceutical manufacturing process had to be strategically transferred from their manufacturing and laboratory facilities into a compliant 90-day chemical storage facility where the material was to be prepared for proper disposal.
The Chemical Transfer Operation
Hazmat is collected from multiple on-site facilities, both manufacturing and laboratory wastes, where 55-gallon drums are then stored in divided sections within the 90-day storage facility. The hazardous drums are then transferred to a chemical storage building, where the drums are stored on pallets and prepared for the next transfer process to a 90-day chemical storage building. Leaking/bulging drums are stored on special containment pallets, to contain any leaking material. Like materials are combined for more economical disposal.
During the combination process, hazardous chemical fumes must be removed from the drum interior using nitrogen blanketing and a snorkel exhauster, drum grounding, and supplied air to the operator are also available. The transfer building is designed to compliantly rid the toxic fumes to prepare drums to be safely stored into 90-day storage.
What Is Nitrogen Blanketing?
Nitrogen blanketing is a process of applying a gas to the vapor space of a container or drum in order to make the vapor space inert. Blanketing prevents air and other contaminants from infiltrating the chemicals and prevents the chemicals from reacting. An exhaust snorkel is used in conjunction with the nitrogen purge to vent any excess fumes during the process of chemical transfer. The chemical drums are then transferred into 90-day storage where they remain fully compliant.
What Are Hazardous Materials?
Hazardous materials are considered dangerous substances that contain properties that can potentially harm human health or the environment. Hazardous materials can include any type of chemicals, metals, or substances that are byproducts during the commercial manufacturing processes. Risks involved with handling hazmat waste can be dangerous and proper laboratory procedures must be met for the disposal process.
Custom Storage Solutions for Pharmaceutical Chemicals
U.S. Chemical Storage designed and manufactured a fully compliant fire-rated chemical storage building to meet our client’s specifications. Since the hazardous materials being transferred into this building are flammable, we customized a 2-hour, fire-rated FireLoc building with dimensions of 32 feet by 14 feet. In this building personnel traffic was estimated to be high so the building was constructed with diamond plate flooring to prevent trip hazards and personnel from slipping, over a 1200-gallon poly lined sump. The diamond plate flooring provides for a strong foundation when transferring large volumes of inventory in and out of the building.
This type of flooring is designed for industrial use and is rust and corrosion resistant. Transfer Building’s Safety Accessories This building was installed with an eyewash-shower station which features an accessible flow switch to initiate water flow, in case a worker encounters a hazardous accident. In the event of the eyewash-shower station being initiated an alarm travels to the central receiving station, notifying officials the eye wash station has been used. This provides real-time information that someone is in danger, allowing emergency personnel to respond quickly. Gas detectors and oxygen sensors were installed to check thresholds for limits on nitrogen when filling the drums and for monitoring safe oxygen levels for personnel and authorized officials.
The gas vapor detector is designed to check for limits of vapors that may cause harm to personnel working inside the transfer building. When working with nitrogen gas dosing drums, the level of nitrogen must always be monitored to avoid the potential risk of asphyxiation to personnel. If there is a problem with the operator there is a ‘mushroom duress’ alarm, which, when initiated, an audible alarm sounds and a signal is sent to the central receiving station. There is an audible alarm/strobe on the outside of the building for all alarms and sensors installed on the transfer building. Since the working conditions require hazardous liquids to be dosed with nitrogen gas, there is constant ventilation with six air changes per hour inside the chemical storage transfer building.
Constant ventilation provides for clean air flow while maintaining a safe work environment. The transfer building was equipped with six tons of cooling with 34,000 BTU’s, in order to remain 100% compliant with safe temperature controls.
Additional features include a separate 120 gallon hot water heater and a room with a containment sump to maintain fifteen minutes of continuous 85°F shower water, a liquid level detector to monitor any spills or leaks, various work benches throughout the building and a heavy-duty fire suppression system to remain safe in the event of a hazardous situation. If the fire suppression system alarm is initiated, it shuts off all system units including the air conditioner, forced air heater, industrial snorkel and mechanical vents so there is limited oxygen to fuel a fire or spread the fire outside of the building.
All motors and electronics contain a weather resistant paint to withstand extreme weather conditions. The unique industrial design of this EP chemical storage building was built for heavy-duty use, while providing maximum safety to personnel working inside and near the chemical storage transfer building. This chemical storage building contained a DOT flip chart placard and a NFPA 704 sign externally to warn bystanders of what type of chemical classification was being stored.
90-Day Pharmaceutical Hazmat Storage
The procedure for safely containing and eventually disposing of the company’s hazardous waste materials continues with the need for a climate controlled 90-day chemical storage building. The 90-day storage building is designed to store chemical for up to 90 days, prior to disposal. Within 90 days, private contractors transfer the hazmat waste for proper disposal. The product being stored comes from the transfer station where materials are gathered from manufacturing and lab operations.
“From design through installation, U.S. Chemical Storage has been great to work with. We have purchased four buildings in the last two years and are very happy with the product. The sales and design staff have been able to listen to our needs and work with us to achieve a cost-effective solution to our storage needs. They have met all promised delivery dates and delivered a good quality product. In addition, once the buildings were on site, U.S. Chemical Storage did not consider their job complete; they have been responsive and helpful in working through installation and startup issues. I feel like they were committed to making our project a success – unusual in a vendor!”
Custom Compartmental Design
USCS designed a customized 90-day storage building by meeting all regulatory requirements in order to create a safe and fully compliant storage environment.
The 90-day storage building was divided into two separate chemical storage rooms, fire-rated and non-fire rated, in order to compliantly store two incompatible chemical substances. The storage building was 55 feet long and 10 feet deep; designed for storing 40, four by four sized pallets of material storage, with the bottom racks of the building being able to store additional pallets or overspill pallets. This building featured push-back racking for efficient and effective drum storage operations.
Flammable Storage Compartment
The left side of this building was constructed with two separate fire-rated rooms for storing two different categories of compatible flammable materials, separated with a wire partition wall. This side of the building featured a sump divider, which was implemented to eliminate any cross contamination in the event of a chemical spill. Explosion proof mechanical ventilation and cooling systems were installed with 5-tons of cooling power, because the geographical area that this building was being placed at has a record high of 105 degrees. This ensured the chemical drums would not swell during the hot summer months. On the back of the fire-rated section, five explosion relief panels were installed in order to relieve pressure, if an explosion were to occur.
Non-Flammable Storage Compartment
We customized the right-hand side of the building to be set up as a non-fire rated chemical storage building; specifically designed to contain two different types of corrosives, including acids and bases. This non-fire rated compartment was divided with a wire partition wall and sump divider so acids and bases could not react, in the event of a spill. The same side of the building included a high-performance heating and cooling package unit as well as a non-explosion proof mechanical ventilation; to ensure that chemicals being stored remain stable.
Additional accessories include liquid level detectors in both sump areas and a green strobe light to notify officials of temperature changes in the locker. This side of the 90-day storage building did not utilize explosion relief panels because the nature of the corrosive chemicals that were being stored. A 2-hour bi-directional fire wall separated the flammables from the corrosive acids and bases.
Safety and Efficiency
One of the key features of this building to make it easier for the operators. All three large roll-up doors are motorized and operated with push button functions. Both sides of the building, flammable and corrosive, utilize push-back racking systems so our client can store pallets two-deep on the bottom with pallets or spill pallets and two-deep on the top with pallets; making it easier for the operators to load and unload hazardous drums. Once this building is filled up with chemical drums from the transfer station, the 90-day drum storage will wait to be removed by private contractors for proper disposal methods. This 90-day storage building featured a DOT flip chart placard and an NFPA 704 sign, external to the building, to warn bystanders from what type of chemicals are being stored inside.