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Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

Land Quality

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School Lab Cleanout Program

Many middle schools and high schools contain stockpiles of unused and improperly-stored chemicals that were once helpful in teaching students the basics of chemistry but now may pose a threat to teachers and students. They also may pose a threat to air and water quality, if stored or disposed of improperly.

DEQ began the School Lab Cleanout Program in 2009, partnering with local governments and a contractor to conduct teacher training and school lab cleanouts. This program has taken significant steps to reduce environmental releases of chemicals which could have caused catastrophic fires, accidental poisonings, skin corrosion, blindness and explosions in more than 100 Oregon schools.

DEQ’s School Lab Cleanout Program has two goals. First, it aims to train teachers in how to conduct experiments using safer chemicals, how to safely store chemicals and how to safely dispose of unneeded chemicals in the future. Secondly, it focuses on identifying unnecessary and hazardous chemicals in school labs and ensuring these substances are safely disposed.

The program makes efficient use of funds through an effective partnership. Funded by solid waste tipping fees, DEQ pays a contractor to provide teacher training and school lab assessments. In the past, DEQ paid for disposal costs, but now due to budget cutbacks relies on local governments to pay for those costs.

The program is based on a King County Washington program called “Rehab the Lab”. The "Rehab the Lab" web site provides assistance to schools to help them manage their hazardous chemicals. You can download fully scripted lesson plans for least-toxic chemistry labs, information on ways to reduce chemical stockpiles in biology labs, and a database of school chemicals that describes their risks and educational utility and provides guidelines for their storage, purchasing and disposal.

For more information about participating in this program, contact DEQ at 503-229-5696 or 1-800-452-4011 and ask for the School Lab Cleanout Coordinator.

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For more information about DEQ's Land Quality programs, visit the DEQ contact page.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Headquarters: 700 NE Multnomah Street, Suite 600, Portland, OR 97232
Phone: 503-229-5696 or toll free in Oregon 1-800-452-4011
Oregon Telecommunications Relay Service: 1-800-735-2900  FAX: 503-229-6124

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is a regulatory agency authorized to protect Oregon's environment by
the State of Oregon and the Environmental Protection Agency.

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