Aerial view of the Warren, Maine lagoon system. Photo courtesy of Woodard and Curran.

Lagoon Systems In Maine 

Systems In Maine

An Informational Resource for
Operators of Lagoon Systems

Mars Hill Wastewater Lagoon System - Mars Hill  Maine. Photo Courtesy of Wright-Pierce Engineers.
 Mission  |  Search  |  Acknowledgements  | Discussion Group |  Contact Us  | Links

Design & Operation
Lagoon Aeration
Tech Papers
Operation Articles
Lagoons In Maine
The Laboratory
Maine Lagoon News
Lagoon Biology

2003 Maine Wastewater Salary Survey as conducted by the Maine Wastewater Control Association

2003 Maine Wastewater Rate Survey conducted by the Maine Rural Water Association

Maine DEP Monthly
O & M Newsletter

Maine and WEF's
Operation Forum

Penobscot Watershed and Development of a TMDL 

EPA Binational Toxics

Maine Rural Water

Maine Wastewater
Operator Certification

Maine Is Technology

Maine Wastewater Control Association

Maine WasteWater Control Association

Wastewater Engineering



Chemical Storage 
by Tim Loftus 

     Many years ago in one of my college chemistry laboratory classes, the instructor told us he just got a call from a local high school science teacher. The teacher found an old bottle of ether in the storage room. A significant amount of powder had formed around the cap of the bottle. He wanted to know if the ether was still good. Or should he throw the whole bottle away?

    My instructor told him to gently close the storage room door and immediately call the state police bomb squad. Peroxide formation on ether bottles can have a way of ruining your day - explosively.

   The potential for fires, property damage, or personal injury from chemicals is an important matter to address in our laboratories. It is one that many technicians do not take very seriously. It seems that since nothing has happened yet, why worry about it now? I know that I am often guilty of thinking this way. But avoidable accidents do happen more often than they should. Reducing the potential for accidents will provide a safer environment for all laboratory workers.

  Below are some general recommendations for storing laboratory chemicals. It is not a complete list and should only serve as a starting point in making your laboratory a safer place to work.

1. Chemicals should be stored by class, not solely by alphabetical order. For example, flammables should be stored with flammables, oxidizers with oxidizers, etc.

2. All containers should be clearly labeled and have the purchase date and opened date written on it.

3. Storage areas should be in well-lit, free of clutter, and have good ventilation.

4.The depth of storage shelves should be shallow to allow for easy access of containers. The shelves should also have a lip around the edge to keep containers from accidentally rolling or “walking” off.

5. Chemical storage areas should be checked frequently for rusty and corroded containers, formation of residues on bottles, and expiration dates of chemicals. When found, follow through with remedial actions.

6. Mixing or transferring chemicals to another container should not be done in the storage area.

7. A laboratory hood is not a substitute for a ventilated cabinet.

8. All chemical containers should be stored at or below eye level.

9. Liquids, if compatible, should be stored under powder chemicals.

10. Store incompatible chemicals in separate places. Any two chemicals that can react to form a toxic gas should not be stored together.

11.  Learn the exceptions of chemical storage. Most of these involve chemicals with multiple hazards such as acetic acid. Because it is both an oxidizer and a flammable liquid it has special storage requirements.

   The recommendations here for chemical storage are very incomplete.  Review any of the many safety reference books and guidance manuals in print to help you develop a safe chemical storage system. Like any safety program, it is an ongoing process that needs continuous reviewing and updating. Like that high school science teacher, you don’t need any explosive surprises waiting for you in your chemical storage areas.

     As usual, check the federal, state and local regulations for the many additional requirements needed to keep your laboratory a chemically safe environment.

     If you have any questions, suggestions, or comments, please contact LPC Chair Paul Fitzgibbons at (401) 222-6780 ext. 118 ( or Tim Loftus at (508) 949-3865 ( You can also visit our website at Once on the website, press the Lab Practices button.




Top of Maine Wastewater Lagoon systems


  Copyright 2003 |  Home | Site Map                                          

Search  |  Contact Us  | Links