As a Principal Investigator at The Catholic University of America, you are responsible for the safe operation of your laboratory or laboratories. This includes leaving any and all of these facilities in a safe condition when you vacate the premises. These guidelines outline your responsibilities in the laboratory closeout process. You are also responsible for completing the Closeout Checklist for Laboratories and filing a copy with Environmental Health and Safety.

When vacating a laboratory, arrange to have hazardous materials properly managed through the Department of Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) or transfer responsibility of the hazardous materials to another investigator. Unwanted hazardous materials may not be left in the laboratory nor may they be discarded in anyway harmful to human health and the environment (e.g., in the regular trash or in a sink drain). EHS is available to perform a laboratory survey to assist in identifying the tasks that must be completed for clearance of the space.

For security purposes, return keys and University owned computers, peripherals, software, and data disks to the department chair or dean.

Materials to be retained by you upon departure, including chemicals, cultures, equipment, etc., must be by written agreement between you and the department Chair or Dean.




Animal and Human Tissue

  1. Animal and human tissue must be disposed of by incineration. Please contact EHS at x5865 to set up the appropriate means of disposal with an outside contractor.
  2. If appropriate disposal is uncertain, contact the EHS.
  3. Empty all refrigerators and freezers of their contents. Defrost and clean the units with an effective disinfectant (i.e. 1:100 solution of commercial bleach).
  4. If samples need to be saved, locate the appropriate individual to take responsibility for them and notify the Department Chair.


Microorganisms, Cultures, and Recombinant DNA

  1. All infectious and/or recombinant material shall be placed in the appropriate biohazard bag or box and inactivated by steam sterilization.
  2. Clean incubators, ovens, refrigerators, and freezers.
  3. Clean and wipe down all workbenches, instrumentation, and materials that may have come into contact with infectious material during research.
  4. If samples need to be saved, locate the appropriate individual to take responsibility for them and notify the Department Chair.
  5. Contact EHS to arrange for the proper decontamination of the Biological Safety Cabinet.


Transporting Biological Materials

  1. Please contact EHS if you will be shipping materials off campus, as there are strict guidelines and regulations to follow for the proper shipment of biological material.



  1. Abandonment of a controlled substance is a violation of the DEA regulations.
  2. Permission to transfer ownership of a controlled substance to another individual or institution or termination of DEA registration must be received from DEA.
  3. Contact the District of Columbia to arrange for disposal (202) 535-2290. Obtain and complete an Inventory of Drugs Surrendered as necessary. Any amount of Controlled Substance waste shall be disposed of by the registered researcher and witnessed by either the District of Columbia or EHS (x5865).



  1. Make sure all chemical containers are sealed and identified with the chemical name or a best description of the compound. This includes chemicals to be discarded.
  2. Request EHS to pick up all chemicals not transferred to another CUA laboratory.
  3. Chemicals to be shipped to another facility, must be done so through EHS so that packaging, labeling and manifesting are done in accordance with Department of Transportation regulations.
  4. Return compressed gas cylinders to the supplier. Request EHS to pick up unwanted non-returnable cylinders for proper disposal.
  5. Principal Investigators who possess a DEA License must notify the District of Columbia and the Federal office of their departure from the University and terminate the license. In addition contact EHS to ensure proper means of disposal are followed for any scheduled drugs under the license.



  1. Notify the Radiation Safety Officer at x5206 of your intention to terminate authorization.
  2. Dispose of all radioactive materials by:
    • Transferring them to another authorized user, while complying with all license restrictions of that user.
    • Disposing them through EHS.
    • Shipping them to a non-CUA licensee while conforming to approved shipping regulations. Note: There will be notification/acceptance requirements at the new facility.
  3. Perform a thorough radiation contamination survey of the laboratory, including equipment to determine if allowable contamination levels are achieved. Those areas found to exceed the allowable limits must be decontaminated and resurveyed until within allowable limits.



  1. Clean/decontaminate surfaces and equipment (lab benches, hoods, etc.).
  2. Properly dispose of all waste materials.
  3. Return keys, computers, peripherals, software, data disks to department Chair/Dean.