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Environmental Health, Safety, and Risk Management

Mission Statement

Execute compliance and prevention activities that contribute to the overall Ehealth, safety and welfare of the campus community and the natural environment. Identify and manage existing or potential liability issues.

Environmental Health

NSU is committed to compliance with all applicable local, state and federal regulatory requirements. Regulatory compliance issues include indoor and outdoor air quality, chemical management, physical hazard identification, pollution prevention and other activities which preserve and protect the campus community and the natural environment.  

The EHS & RM office interprets and implements regulatory standards promulgated and enforced by the Virginia Department of Labor & Industry, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and local agencies. These regulations form the basis of employee and environmental health and safety programs. Virginia Occupational Safety and Health standards may be found at the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry. Environmental regulations may be accessed at  Virginia Department of Environmental Quality website.  

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Hazardous Materials Management

Procurement, Use and Storage

The best method of identifying potentially hazardous materials is before they enter the campus. Comprehensive reviews of Safety Data Sheets (SDS; formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheets – MSDS) should be performed prior to ordering. Consider the physical and chemical characteristics, proper procedures for use, handling, storage, engineering controls, administrative controls and personal protective equipment. Replacement or substitution of less hazardous or non-hazardous materials must be considered.

All persons handling or using hazardous materials must be made aware of potential risks and precautions. Federal regulations require maintenance of chemical inventories and readily available provision of SDS to affected employees. Anyone procuring or using hazardous substances must maintain an inventory specifying chemical, quantity and location. Storage areas must be secured and posted with warnings appropriate to the characteristics of the chemicals. Contaminated or expired chemicals should be stored separately from chemicals in inventory. Contact EHS&RM to arrange disposal.

A copy of the SDS for each potentially hazardous chemical or product must be sent to EHS&RM for inclusion in the campus central inventory. This will enable EHS&RM to provide information to first responders in event of emergencies.

Spills or Releases

Response and containment procedures are specified on Safety Data Sheets. These sheets must be provided to first responders. EHS&RM can provide absorption and containment materials to assist in minimization and control of spills or releases. EHS&RM will contact certified and trained hazardous materials cleaning professionals to provide additional equipment and expertise to handle large or complex spills.

Waste Disposal

Disposal of hazardous materials or wastes must comply with federal, state and local statutes. Licensed waste disposal contractors provide proper labeling, packaging, transportation and ultimate destruction or recycling services. Areas typically generating waste materials include Biology, Chemistry, Medical, Maintenance and Research. EHS&RM should be contacted whenever waste disposal is required to ensure safety and compliance.

Air Quality

Asbestos Abatement

Certified and licensed contractors are retained for the removal of asbestos from buildings. Procedures that ensure capture or encapsulation of asbestos fibers during removal are utilized. Air monitoring tests during and after removals are performed provide assurance of successful abatement.

Mold prevention, detection and abatement

Molds are found on indoor and outdoor surfaces, and can grow on almost any substance when moisture is present. Common building materials, such as plywood, drywall, carpets, and carpet padding are food for molds.  

Mold spread can be thwarted:

  • During humid weather, windows should be kept closed to minimize indoor moisture accumulation. Air vents should never be blocked.
  • Keep housing areas dry -- don't let water build up anywhere, ventilate damp rooms, wipe shower walls and doors after use.
  • Don't leave wet clothes in washing machines where mold can quickly grow. Dry wet clothing and towels in laundry dryers.
  • Don't keep too many indoor plants -- especially in dorm rooms -- as mold can grow in plant soil.
  • Use exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Turn off humidifiers if you see condensation on windows. Use dehumidifiers and air conditioners in areas of buildings where mold tends to grow, especially when it’s hot and humid. Clean dehumidifiers and humidifiers weekly.
  • If mold is found, use a damp cloth or paper towel to remove it; dry completely. Spraying with cleansers may cause mold to release spores into the air, which may pose potential respiratory hazards.
  • Report any leak from plumbing or rainfall to Facilities Management quickly for abatement or prevention of mold growth.
Preventing Mold Broshure

Stormwater Pollution Prevention

Public Awareness

There are over four-hundred (400) storm water drains throughout campus that direct rainwater, snowmelt and other surface materials off campus, untreated into the Elizabeth River. Preventing contaminants and debris from entering storm drains minimizes soil and water pollution. Draining vehicle fluids (anti-freeze and oils) is strictly prohibited on campus except in the vehicle maintenance area. Releases of these or similar fluids must immediately be reported to the University Police.

In addition to responding with absorbent and containment material to prevent fluids, debris and other contaminants from entering outfalls, Facilities Management has initiated a Nutrient Management Program to ensure only biodegradable fertilizers and pesticides are used in the maintenance of campus grounds. Implementation of this program minimizes the risk of inappropriate materials release by storm water.

An instructional PowerPoint® presentation and pamphlets are available which address NSU’s Stormwater challenges and what the campus community can do to ensure compliance. Additional information on the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s Storm Water Regulations.

Energy Conservation

HVAC Systems (Heat, Ventilation, Air Conditioning)

An on-going program to convert all buildings to natural gas boilers and furnaces continues. This program accomplishes the goal of providing clean, efficient and environmentally friendly HVAC systems in all campus buildings. New natural gas systems generate lower levels of pollutant emissions and operate more efficiently than the previous oil-fired burners.

Fleet vehicles

Fuel consumption by NSU vehicles is closely monitored. NSU is committed to reducing our “carbon footprint” by switching to alternative energy fueled vehicles. Alternative fuel availability and economy is researched prior to lease or purchase of vehicle models by the university. Unlicensed electrically powered vehicles are currently in use. Diesel, electric or gas/electric highway vehicles are being evaluated.

Underground storage tanks

Currently, there is only one active underground storage tank containing gasoline on campus. The tank and piping are equipped with electronic monitoring equipment for leak detection and inventory control. Numerous Facilities Management personnel have received training to operate and maintain the tank in compliance with state and federal regulations.