Tritium Exit Sign Disposal: Proper Procedures

The processes for disposing a single Tritium exit sign are significant since a radioactive gas is included as part of their design. Many building owners choose this form of egress identifier because it reduces the expenses associated with safety compliance measures; however, the cost of disposing these items makes them a little less worth the effort. The radioactive materials used to generate illumination are controlled by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or the NRC to prevent the release of Tritium into the environment. A Tritium exit sign has an average lifespan of ten to twenty years and the time period varies depending on how fast beta decay occurs. The NRC requires each identifier to be sent to a licensed disposal site once they have reached their end of use. Tritium exit signs cannot be placed in a landfill as solid waste and are not completely recyclable.

Important Rules to Follow

Proper procedures have been defined by the NRC to ensure human and environmental safety. Owners, or the general licensee, are required to maintain accurate reporting information of each sign installed within a structure. Licensed companies are not responsible for reporting the disposal transfer. A report must be filed with the NRC within thirty days of the transfer to inform them of any change of ownership. The manufacturing companies name, device model number, and identifier serial number has to be supplied in the report. If transferred to a new owner of the structure, the person’s name, address, and license number must be provided in the report along with a transfer date. Additional paperwork is required any time a Tritium exit sign must be discarded or replaced.

Defined NRC Disposal Practices

The radioactive materials housed in the tubes of each egress identifier make the discarding process a little more difficult. As opposed to energy reliant signing, a Tritium exit sign has to be disposed of in a precise manner. It cannot be dumped in a landfill as a whole because this would allow radioactive materials to enter the environment thus contaminating soil, water, and other resources. Owners must first obtain an RGA number to begin the disposal process. This involves sending a DOT Training & Acknowledgement Form and current serial number spreadsheet to the chosen disposal company. The licensed company provides an RGA number and transfer notification letter once the information has been received.

Signs have to be packaged as defined by the chosen service company in order for the process to be completed. Owners then send the received transfer notification letter and serial number spreadsheet to the NRC. Shipping typically occurs through a ground service such as UPS with the option of a receiving a confirmation receipt from the disposal company. Failure to report each discarded Tritium exit sign to the NRC or using improper procedures results in extensive government fines. These signs are not only more expensive to purchase, but can also wreak havoc on building owners in the event of a breakage. Alternative self-luminous choices such as photoluminescent identifiers provide the same non-energy benefits while removing the hassles often experienced when choosing Tritium products for egress compliance implementation.

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