Private Waste Industry Prepared to Safely Dispose of Materials from Ebola Patients
NW&RA members working hand-in-hand with government agencies to implement a safe removal plan
WASHINGTON, October 13, 2014 /3BL Media/ — Working in concert with the relevant government agencies, the National Waste & Recycling Association is resolving issues affecting the management of medical waste material from Ebola patients.
Because Ebola is listed as a Category A infectious substance by the U.S. Department of Transportation, it has more stringent requirements for labeling, packaging, transportation and security. The NW&RA is working with the DOT, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to develop procedures for removing and treating these materials.
“Both the healthcare waste industry and the municipal solid waste industry are well-situated to safely manage waste materials from Ebola patients,” said Sharon H. Kneiss, president and CEO of NW&RA. “They will be prepared to continue to ensure public health through the proper management of this material.”
On Oct. 3, the PHMSA issued a special permit for the safe handling and transport of Ebola-contaminated waste generated in Dallas, Texas. The permit is specific to handling of the waste generated for the patient in Dallas and is limited in a variety of ways including a geographic restriction within Texas and an expiration date of Nov. 30.
The NW&RA is working with the DOT to ensure proper waste handling of any future U.S. Ebola cases. The PHMSA has issued a guidance document to help waste haulers understand the packaging, handling and transportation requirements of Ebola waste.
Under the guidelines, healthcare waste companies can apply for “non-site-specific” special permits to ensure that healthcare facilities and state, local and federal authorities have the ability to safely package, handle, and transport for disposal any accumulation of Category A waste.
After treatment, the waste is no longer considered regulated medical waste. However, to confirm that the material was treated, the hauler will be required to obtain a Certificate of Treatment from the treatment facility.
In general, municipal solid waste landfills may accept treated waste. Depending on the state, some landfills may need to obtain approval prior to acceptance of this material. Also, some states may require that the treated waste be covered immediately with soil. In addition, landfills will be required to maintain the Certificate of Treatment for a period determined by their state agency.
The NW&RA has created three resources for members and others to obtain Ebola information. The Association:
- Has set up a page on its website for frequently asked questions about transporting and disposing of Ebola-related waste.
- Will brief members that handle healthcare waste this week on the new transportation permit process and give them the opportunity to ask questions.
- Is presenting a webinar on Oct. 16 at 1:00 PM Eastern time, on managing healthcare waste during an Ebola outbreak.
For more information on the requirements for transporting waste that is contaminated, or suspected of being contaminated, with the Ebola virus and the special permit application process, please see http://phmsa.dot.gov/hazmat/transporting-infectious-substances
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The National Waste & Recycling Association is the trade association that represents the private sector waste and recycling services industry. Association members conduct business in all 50 states and include companies that collect and manage garbage, recycling and medical waste, equipment manufacturers and distributors and a variety of other service providers. For more information about NW&RA, visit www.wasterecycling.org.