Laboratory Decommissioning

This information is provided for the purpose of assisting departments and investigators vacating biosafety lab space, to ensure that the space has been cleared of all biohazardous material including biological agents and recombinant DNA, and to ensure that any remaining equipment has been properly decontaminated. This information specifically applies to BL1 and BL2 laboratories. Additional procedures are required for decommissioning BL3 space. Also, refer to the University SAP for laboratory decommissioning online at

To schedule your lab for decommissioning, please observe the following steps:

  1. Contact the Biosafety program at 979.862.4549 to provide notification and to schedule an appointment for inspection of the lab space to be decommissioned. The biosafety lab decommission checklist (PDF) will be sent to the principal investigator (PI) or PI designee.
  2. Following the steps listed on the checklist, the PI or PI designee should dispose of all biohazardous agents/recombinant material present in the lab (which may include autoclaving the material or transferring the material to another facility) and perform laboratory and equipment disinfection.
  3. Solid biohazard trash should be decontaminated by autoclaving and must be disposed of properly (i.e. placement of the autoclaved waste inside a second black trash bag and placement in the dumpster).
  4. Liquid biohazard waste may be decontaminated either by autoclaving or by use of concentrated bleach (10% final) solution. If bleach is used to decontaminate liquids, the solution should be allowed to sit for at least 30 minutes prior to pouring down the drain. Be sure to rinse with copious amounts of water. Bleach containing solutions should never be autoclaved.
  5. Any remaining laboratory equipment should be decontaminated using an appropriate disinfectant. (10% bleach solution followed by 70% ethanol is recommended.)
  6. All cabinets and drawers should be emptied and cleaned.
  7. The floor should be mopped with disinfectant solution.


    To ensure that all laboratory waste and biohazardous agents have been disposed of properly, and that all laboratory equipment has been decontaminated using approved disinfectants, the lab will be inspected by staff from the Biosafety program. Biosafety personnel will remove the door signage once the clean-up procedure has been completed.

    In order to document completion of the laboratory decommissioning, notification will be provided to the PI and the Department Head by the Biosafety program. A copy of this notice will be forwarded to the appropriate Environmental Health and Safety Department.