Data centre professionals rely on lead-acid batteries as a reliable and cost effective energy storage resource. However some of the basic components of these batteries like lead sulfuric acid are potentially toxic if mishandled. Data centre owners should avoid self disposal of batteries. Simply throwing out a spent lead acid battery is illegal, environmentally irresponsible and can lead to a hefty fine.
What to do with old batteries
In almost all cases, a battery reaches end-of-life without incident. Such a battery is considered “intact”. Intact UPS batteries are no more dangerous than other data centre equipment when handled correctly. However, an intact spent battery is still considered hazardous waste and must be treated as such according to national regulations.
Occasionally, a battery experiences stresses that can cause the case to swell, crack, or lose a cap. UPS Batteries in this condition are considered “damaged”. These damaged batteries are subject to more stringent regulations than are “intact” batteries. Damaged UPS batteries pose the risk of hazardous material release. Data centre professionals and other consumers with damaged batteries should consult an expert immediately for instructions on proper transportation and disposal. Regardless of quantity, all battery owners have to ensure environmentally safe disposal of their batteries.