DEM seeks schools for free laboratory chemical removal program

PROVIDENCE – The R.I. Department of Environmental Management said Friday that is seeking more schools to participate in a program to remove and dispose of banned or unwanted laboratory chemicals.

The program is free for schools to participate in. So far this year, only 11 schools have participated in the Hazardous Waste Laboratory Chemical Removal project, resulting in over 100 chemicals being disposed of.

The program involves assistance with a chemical audit, as well as removal and disposal.

“DEM is committed to protecting and restoring our environment to create greener, healthier communities, and we look forward to helping more Rhode Island schools remove unwanted laboratory chemicals through this important initiative,” RIDEM Director Janet Coit said in a statement. “Chemicals and toxic substances can pose a serious threat to the safety and welfare of students and school staff, and that’s why it’s so important to take proactive measures to head off incidents before they become emergencies.”

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The program is funded by money from the Volkswagen settlement over diesel fuel emissions, as well as from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Pollution Prevention grant.

Only 17 schools responded to the DEM’s letter that was sent to every school district in the state last March calling for participants for the program.

Interested schools are being asked to complete the Chemical Use in Schools Survey by Nov. 18.

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