Hazardous Waste

Radioactive Waste

Contamination & Exposure Control

Removable radioactive contamination on the exterior of all LLRW containers shall be kept as low as practicable.

Laboratory personnel are responsible for:

  • Testing for the presence of external contamination on all waste containers;
  • Removing contamination from the exterior of all waste containers to the limits in the table below;
  • Maintaining a copy of all records of smear test results;
  • Informing HMM prior to collection of waste if the contact exposure rate of any waste container exceeds 50 mrem/hour.


Maximum permissible
Contaminant ≥Ci/cm2 dpm/cm2
Beta-gamma emitting radionuclides; all radionuclides with half-lives less than ten days; natural uranium; natural thorium,; uranium-235; uranium-238; thorium-232; thorium-228 and thorium-230 when contained in ores or physical concentrates. 10-5 22
All other alpha emitting radionuclides 10-6 2.2

Removal of External Contamination From Waste Containers
Every laboratory which generates radioactive waste is responsible for decontaminating the exterior of waste containers to the safe levels listed in the table above. The following contamination testing procedures are required for each type of waste container:

7.5 gallon and 28 gallon yellow fiber drums are to be smeared (wipe-tested) on the side and bottom of the drum.

Sharps containers must be smeared on the handle, top (lid), bottom, and sides of the container.

4L and 20L jugs must be smeared on the cap, handle, sides, and bottom of the container.

The boxes containing the vials are to be smeared on all four sides as well as on the top and bottom. The boxes containing the vials must be properly sealed and have no visible damage so that no leaking of radioactive and/or hazardous material occurs from the box.

All lead/leaded objects and lead impregnated materials must be smeared on all sides.

A completed signature on the Low Level Radioactive Waste (LLRW) Manifest indicates to OSEH personnel that the testing for external container contamination has been completed as required.