Solvent Explosion and Fire

At the University of X, a 55-gallon drum containing 30 gallons of mixed organic solvents exploded, launching upward into the ceiling within the hazardous waste storage facility, and began a significant fire. Luckily, no one was hurt. The mixed organic solvents in the drum had been consolidated from solvent waste containers from laboratories across the campus. A similar consolidation process is used at many research institutions. Solvents are consolidated because there is significant cost savings in disposing of one large drum as opposed to many smaller containers. This incident demonstrates how important it is for each lab to fully report the contents on each container on the hazardous waste label.