Environmental Safety

Georgia State University is committed to maintaining its compliance with local and federal regulations regarding air, water, and land quality. Collaboration between the Office of Research and Environmental Safety, the Environmental Programs Advisory Committee (EPAC), and staff, faculty and students leads Georgia State University towards environmental compliance and safety. While regulatory compliance is a top priority, GSU also strives to promote a proactive approach to environmental stewardship on campus through environmental education and open communication between RES and the campus community.

The Office of Research and Environmental Safety provides safety services to the entire University in the following areas:


Asbestos is a mineral fiber that is used in construction as a thermal insulator and fire retardant. It can be found in attics and walls, floors, plumbing, and roofing and ceilings. Over the years, the health effects of asbestos have become a topic of great importance and greater measures have been taken to minimize the exposure to asbestos.
At Georgia State University, we strive to maintain a safe, healthy working environment for students, faculty, and staff. To ensure the efficient handling of asbestos-related problems, the Office of Research and Environmental Safety has established a notification system to allow the Assistant Director of Research and Environmental Safety and the Hazardous Waste Materials Specialist to be aware of all maintenance and repair projects that take place on campus. It also helps ensure that preventative steps are taken to minimize any uncontrolled disturbances to asbestos-containing materials and the related exposures. It is the responsibility of all project managers/architects to notify Research and Environmental Safety of any projects that may involve asbestos prior to the initiation. It is also the responsibility of the general population of the University to notify Research and Environmental Safety of any asbestos-related incidents on campus.
If you have asbestos inspection requests or questions, including renovation activities on GSU’s campus that could potentially impact asbestos-containing materials, please contact the Office of Research and Environmental Safety at (404)413-3540.

Additional Information

lead
Many buildings that were constructed before 1978 contain lead-based paints. Georgia State University has a number of these buildings in the Atlanta area. Since 1978, lead has been banned from use in residential and public establishments due to the recognized detrimental effects of lead poisoning.
In order to comply with federal and state regulations, Georgia State University must take steps to limit lead exposure during construction projects. Prior to any renovation or demolition work, please notify Research and Environment Safety at (404)413-3540 to request testing of the affected area(s) prior to renovation or demolition.
For more information on lead-based paints, please visit the University System of Georgia’s guidelines website.
Additional Information

Problems associated with indoor air quality are a result of poor ventilation, high particulate concentration in the air, and temperature and moisture fluctuation, amongst many others. This can cause immediate health effects, such as eye and sinus irritation, headaches, aggravation of existing conditions, and fatigue, as well as some long term effects including the onset of respiratory and cardiovascular issues.

At Georgia State University, it is important to maintain to comfortable, healthy work environment to prevent IAQ issues and mitigate the effects of these issues.

Additional Information

water
Water quality describes the physical, chemical, and biological integrity of the water supply. In order to safeguard against unsafe conditions that could have a negative health impact, federal and state regulations have been established to determine what is considered safe for human consumption.

If you have any concerns with water quality issues in your area, please contact Facilities Management at (404) 413-0700. For technical advice, feel free to contact Research and Environmental Safety at (404)413-3540.

Additional Links

Waste

“Universal Waste” is a term used by the Environmental Protection Agency to identify certain widely generated hazardous wastes, such as batteries, pesticides, light bulbs, etc. These items are not regulated by the full hazardous waste rules that regulate chemical waste. Instead, these items are streamlined management rules with less stringent standards for handling, storage, and transporting the waste.

Because universal wastes are still considered hazardous to human health and the environment, Georgia State University strives to be environmentally conscious by keeping these items out of the landfill and encouraging recycling and proper disposal of these items. In accordance with federal and state standards, the Office of Research and Environmental Safety handles the collection of these items. For questions about collection or to request a pick-up, please contact the office at (404)413-3540.
Additional Links

Title 2- Clean Fueled Fleets Program
Title 2 of the Clean Air Act (CAA) requires the establishment of the Clean Fueled Fleets Program (CFFP) to regulate vehicles emissions. All vehicles weighing 26,000 pounds and are in fleets of ten in non-attainment zones must participate in the CFFP. Non-attainment areas are considered as the 13 counties within the metro-Atlanta area.

Clean Air Act Title 5
Title 5 of the Clean Air Act requires all facilities that have the potential to emit pollutants into the air to acquire an operating permit. The State of Georgia’s permit program is in accordance with the federal guidelines.

Currently, Georgia State University holds a Synthetic Minor permit that sets emissions limitations to keep GSU from being considered a major source of emissions. If any new construction projects or fuel burning equipment are on campus, GSU must apply for an SIP permit 12 months prior to the start of the project or use of equipment.

Clean Air Act Title 6
Stratospheric ozone depletion has become an increasingly significant environmental issue in recent times. Ozone is a gas that is found in the atmosphere and is useful in blocking harmful UV radiation from reaching Earth’s surface. With the use of products containing chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HCFCs), halons, and bromides, stratospheric ozone has gradually been destroyed, resulting in negative consequences for agriculture, marine ecosystems, and human health.

As an answer to the degradation of the ozone layer, the federal government introduced Title 6 of the Clean Air Act. The purpose of this act is to phase out or limit the use and production of ozone depleting substances (ODSs). To do our part to protect the ozone layer, GSU has developed procedures to support and adhere to federal and state regulations. These procedures can be found in our Operations and Management manuals (linked below).
For more information about the above regulations, please visit the following links to the USEPA website or view our Operations and Management Plan.

Per USEPA regulations, any institution or facilities that either store (a) 42,000 gallons or more of oil in underground tanks or (b) 1,320 gallons or more of oil in above-ground tanks must adhere to Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (40 CFR) Part 112.

In accordance with 40 CFR Part 112, GSU has implemented a SPCC plan to regulate how oil and hazardous materials are handled and stored. The main goals of the SPCC plan are:
1. To identify and assess area where oil and hazardous materials are handled, stored, or managed
2. Prevent spills, leaks, or other releases of oil or hazardous materials that could discharge into navigable waters
3. Ensure appropriate control and countermeasure equipment or procedures are in place to adequately contain and control inadvertent releases
For more information, click here to view the GSU 2014 SPCC Plan.

underground
The Fuel Storage Tank Program is run by the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) which manages and monitors all state-owned fuel underground storage tanks. This service includes annual site visits, inspections, and repairs. The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) of the Department of Natural Resources is responsible for administering the state’s compliance with EPA guidelines.

GSU maintains three state-owned underground storage tanks (USTs). These tanks are subject to federal and state UST regulations.

Additional Links

The Office of Research and Environmental Safety is responsible for all Due Diligence activities, such as Phase I and Phase II environmental site assessments (ESAs) and the Georgia Environmental Policy Act (GEPA) evaluations. The purpose of the ESAs is to identify any pre-existing environmental conditions that may create a liability for the Board of Regents. The GEPA evaluation must be completed during the initial planning phases of a construction project to assess potential adverse environmental impacts of the project.
Visit the USG’s Criteria for Environmental Site Assessments for more information or contact our office at (404)413-3540 if you have questions.

The Environmental Programs Office also provides emergency response to spills, releases, and odor complaints, as well as auditing services for laboratory compliance and training programs.

The Georgia State University Environmental Programs Operation and Management Plan provides more detailed information on the procedures conducted by the Research and Environmental Safety department.

For Questions, Reports, or Release concerns, please contact:

Michael Thompson
Assistant Director
Office of Research Integrity
Phone: 404-413-3551
Email: gthompson11@gsu.edu

Paul Hysell
Hazardous Materials Specialist, Senior
Office of Research Integrity
Phone: 404-413-3515
Email: physell1@gsu.edu