How should infectious waste be packaged and stored?
- Sharps must be placed in rigid, leak- and puncture-resistant containers secured tightly. All other waste should be stored and maintained in a rigid or semi-rigid leak-proof container that will not allow liquid in or out.
- Containers must be strong enough to resist bursting and tearing during handling and transport and must be able to be closed tightly and securely.
- Plastic bags used inside containers must be red or orange.
- Reusable containers are acceptable but must be disinfected after each use.
- Waste should not be compacted before or during storage or transport.
- Waste storage begins when a container is closed.
- While waste is being stored, it must be kept safe from insects and rodents, weather and leaking.
- If the waste is stored outside, the storage area must be locked.
- Access to storage areas must be limited to authorized personnel only.
- Storage areas should be labeled with the biohazard symbol and the words INFECTIOUS WASTE (or BIOHAZARDOUS WASTE or MEDICAL WASTE).
- Waste cannot be stored onsite for more than 14 days; if kept at or below 42° Fahrenheit, waste cannot be stored more than 30 days.
- Waste should have no odor. If it begins to smell, it should be transported immediately.
Transport/Treatment of Waste
- Containers must be labeled properly before transport.
- Labeling must be clearly visible and include:
- Biohazard symbol
- Generator name or Infectious Waste Program
- Registration Number
- Date the container was placed in storage or sent
- Words INFECTIOUS WASTE (or BIO-HAZARDOUS
- WASTE or MEDICAL WASTE).
- Before waste can be transported, it must be manifested. This manifest must accompany waste at all times after leaving the generating facility. The manifest must include:
- The generator's name, address and infectious waste program registration number
- A general description of the waste being shipped
- The number of containers and the weight
- The name of the treatment facility where the waste is going
- Certification by the generator that the waste is packaged, described and labeled properly
- Certification that the waste does not include hazardous or radioactive waste
- The name of the transporter
- Certification by the transporter that the manifest has been filled out properly
- The date the transporter picked up the waste
- Certification that the number of containers and weight were accurate
- Certification that the waste was adequately treated.
- The date the treatment facility received the waste
Not all of this information will be available when the waste is picked up for transport, although the manifest should include all but the last two items at pick-up. The fully completed manifest should be returned to the generator within 50 days of pick-up. If it is not returned within 50 days of pick-up, the generator should notify the infectious waste program.
Small Quantity Generators Transport/Treatment
Small Quantity Generators have different regulatory allowances than large or extra large quantity generators. Small quantity generators do not have to offer their waste for treatment. However, the following waste must be packaged, stored, and treated according to regulatory requirements:
- Microbiological cultures
- Products of conception
- Human blood and blood products.
If this waste is picked up at a facility before treatment, the waste and transport must meet all regulatory requirements that large and extra large quantity generators do with their waste.
A small quantity generator can also carry their own waste to another facility for pick-up and treatment, but they must:
- Transport less than 50 pounds at a time
- Package and label waste properly and manifest properly with the name and registration number of the small quantity generator
- Not transport in a passenger compartment
- Make sure the infectious waste is enclosed and protected from the weather.
If this waste is not transported before treatment, the waste must be treated by chemical or steam sterilization, or other DHEC approved method. If the treatment method does not change the appearance of the waste container, the container needs to be labeled with the word "Treated" and the date of treatment.
All other infectious waste may be disposed of as solid waste after being properly packaged to prevent exposure to solid waste workers and the public. Local landfills may choose not to accept infectious waste, treated or untreated. If your local landfill will not accept the waste, another disposal method must be found. All infectious waste generated must be weighed.