If you think managing chemical waste in your lab is like throwing money down the drain, imagine how Daniel Storm feels. According to the Seattle Post Intelligencer, rather than paying $15,000 to properly dispose of 5 cans of ethyl ether, the professor of pharmacology at the University of Washington took an axe to them and poured them down the drain. According to Nature, Storm falsified waste manifest sheets in an attempt to cover up the crime. Storm was sentenced to 3 years of probation, 80 hours of community service and a $5,000 fine in U. S. District Court and is undergoing university disciplinary review.
Like most people who have had to sit through the courses and fill out the monthly paperwork required to dispose of anything other than water, I can understand Storm’s frustration. Do people in hazmat suits really need to close down a building over a broken thermometer? However, you don’t have to be an environmentalist to realize that pouring an extremely flammable liquid into university pipes isn’t a terribly smart thing to do.