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Subpart K / Academic Labs Rule

The EPA has long established alternative, optional regulations for laboratories at Academic Institutions under 40CFR part 262 commonly known as “Subpart K” or the “Academic Labs Rule”. The number of states which have adopted the rule is on the increase, with New York State being the most recent with an effective date of April 19, 2020.

This ruling provides regulatory relief from specific generator requirements for eligible laboratories at colleges, universities and other academic entities. The EPA allows education-based laboratories the option of managing their waste under this rule or continue to manage their waste under the existing generator requirements. However, if an academic institution decides to “opt-in” there are specific requirements that must be followed.


Issue – Making RCRA hazardous waste determination at the point of generation. EPA’s 2017 Generator Improvement Rule made it clear that Hazardous Waste determinations must be made at the point of generation by the individual creating the waste. Failure to do so, may result in heavy penalties.

At colleges and Universities, typically the person(s) generating wastes are students and professors, who typically have not had formal RCRA training, to make the Hazardous Waste determination. The Academic Labs Rule (Subpart K) removes the waste determination responsibilities from the individuals in the laboratories and shifts it to a properly trained environmental professional.

Issue – Unplanned Laboratory Clean Outs of unwanted chemistry results in a change of the college’s generator status and the associated increased regulatory burden or fines for non-compliance.

The Academic Lab Rule also offers the added benefit of allowing annual clean out of laboratories without the disposal of any of the unused chemicals counting towards the college’s Hazardous waste Generator Status.

However, with these benefits, also comes the need to ensure that unwanted materials are managed safely by developing proper labeling and container management requirements by means of a written Laboratory Management Plan (LMP). This LMP outlines how your academic institute will adhere to the proper management of unwanted materials when operating under the Subpart K ruling.

Benefits of Subpart K

  • Relief from waste determination requirements at the point of generation
  • Modified in lab storage waste/unwanted material requirements
  • Ability to perform chemical cleanouts without affecting generator status
  • Proper participation reduces/eliminates common laboratory compliance issue and fines

ACVs Supporting Services:

  • Consulting on Subpart K requirements
  • Laboratory inspections
  • Subpart K training
  • Laboratory Management Plan development
  • Chemical cleanouts and waste disposal
  • Onsite staffing solutions

To learn more about the Academic Laboratory Standard / Subpart K and ACVs support services contact us with the link below:


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