35.36 - Environmental Issues

Last updated August 18, 2005

A. General.

A-1. Preface. The University of Idaho strives to demonstrate its leadership in the protection and conservation of natural resources. Preserving natural resources benefits the UI and surrounding community by providing a better place to work and live, enhances its excellence in research and education, and conserves its economic resources. Compliance with environmental regulations is a responsibility and legal requirement that provides for a safer working and learning environment, protects the environment, and minimizes the legal and financial liabilities of the institution and the members of the university community.

A-2. Activities. Employees engaged in teaching, research, outreach, farming, service, maintenance, and other UI activities are expected to assess the impact that their activities may have on areas of environmental concern. These areas may include, but are not limited to, air quality, disturbing or using asbestos-containing materials, the installation and use of aboveground and underground storage tanks, biohazardous materials, hazardous materials and waste management, disturbing lead-based paint, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), radiation safety, solid waste, and water quality.

A-3. Compliance. All employees are expected to comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws, rules, and regulations as well as UI policies and procedures. The Environmental Health and Safety Office provides guidance on compliance with environmental regulations and can be contacted for information on environmental issues, (208) 885-6524.

B. Pollution Prevention.

B-1. Prevention. Eliminating pollution before it enters the environment is preferable to managing the pollution after it enters the environment. Often, pollution prevention activities reduce operating costs, minimize liabilities, and reduce regulatory requirements. Employees need to explore and implement ways in which pollutants and waste from their activities can be reduced or eliminated. The following suggestions provide guidance to accomplish this requirement:

a. Source Elimination. Replacing products or processes that use hazardous materials will eliminate the costs to manage and dispose of these materials. An example is replacing a mercury thermometer with a non-mercury thermometer. Use of computers, models, or instrumentation can also eliminate the need for using and disposing of hazardous materials.

b. Source Reduction. Substituting a less hazardous material or less polluting process for a more hazardous material or more polluting process will reduce potential environmental concerns. Reducing the amount of hazardous materials used in a process or product, as in microscale experiments, will minimize management and disposal of these materials.

c. Recycling. Unwanted materials from one department may be needed materials in another department. Surplus chemicals are an example. The exchange of these materials will reduce the need to purchase new chemicals and dispose of old chemicals. Recycling of solid wastes (aluminum cans, paper, cardboard, etc.) will reduce the university’s waste disposal costs and conserve natural resources. [See APM 40.05(C)]

C. Accountability.

C-1. Violations of Laws, Rules, and Regulations. Any violation resulting from the failure to comply with an applicable law, rule or regulation, or a UI policy or procedure, may subject an employee to disciplinary action. In addition, if a violation leads to the payment of a monetary penalty by the UI, that portion of the monetary penalty attributable to the employee’s failure to comply may be assessed against the operating budget of the employee’s department. Fines or penalties imposed on an employee individually by a court or by statute for violation of laws or regulations must be paid for by the employee.

D. UI Representative.

D-1. Safety Officer. The safety officer is responsible for providing guidance and technical consultation to assist the UI in complying with environmental regulations. The safety officer reviews UI activities, recommends corrective actions, develops policies and procedures, maintains required documentation, and accompanies regulatory agency representatives during inspections. The safety officer represents the UI as the liaison with regulatory agencies and manages applicable environmental permits.