Team:Charlottesville RS/Safety


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Safety Questions

Question: Would any of your project ideas raise safety issues in terms of:

- Researcher Safety

- Public Safety

- Environmental Safety

Answer: In sewage water, there are many pathogenic organisms such as Salmonella (biosafety level 2), E.Coli (biosafety level 1), and S. Typhimurium (biosafety level 2). The only part of our project that actually includes wastewater is our controlled sequencing batch reactor buckets that only we handle. We take necessary precautions whenever handling these buckets (gloves, goggles, proper sterile technique), and they would never cause harm to anyone else unless the buckets somehow fell over and the fluid fell off of our rooftop (which shouldn’t happen). In that case, the worst that would happen would be a few people getting sick, probably mildly. If the project goes according to plan, our wastewater should be clean and free of these pathogens, so there wouldn’t be any risk to anyone.

Question: Do any of the new BioBrick parts (or devices) that you made this year raise safety issues? If yes:

- Did you document these issues in the Registry?

- How did you manage to handle the safety issues?

- How could other teams learn from your experience?


Question: Is there a local biosafety group, committee, or review board at your institution?

- If yes, what does your local biosafety group think about your project?

- If no, which specific biosafety rules or guidelines do you have to consider in your country?

Answer: The EPA regulations concerning the water quality of outgoing water at the Moores Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant is:

- Suspended solids: 22 mg/l

- Ammonia : 1 mg/l (warm months) / 6.6 mg/l (cold months)

- Nitrogen: 4 part per million (ppm)

- Phosphorous: .3 ppm

Question: Do you have any other ideas how to deal with safety issues that could be useful for future iGEM competitions? How could parts, devices and systems be made even safer through biosafety engineering?