What is infectious waste?
Infectious waste is waste capable of producing an infectious disease if someone was to come into direct contact with it. This includes medical lab waste, waste with animal and human body parts or fluids, and used sharps.
What is a sharp?
Sharps are a medical term used to describe anything with sharp points or edges that could puncture skin. This includes things such needles, syringes, lancets, auto injectors, and infusion sets.
Is infectious waste regulated?
This depends on how much is generated, transported, or treated. The Davis County Board of Health has adopted an Infectious Waste Regulation. However, this regulation applies to facilities that generate more than 25 lbs of infectious waste per month or hauls or treats more than 50 lbs per month. This generally applies to medical and dental offices, hospitals, long-term care facilities, surgery centers, laboratories, veterinary clinics, and pet shops.
Though most households and businesses won’t generate enough infectious waste to be under regulation, all infectious waste should still be handled and disposed of properly.
Household or Small Quantity Infectious Waste
How do I safely handle and dispose of infectious waste from my home?
Except for sharps (see below), isolate material that has come in contact with body fluids in a plastic bag or a leak resistant rigid container. The containers of infectious waste may be placed in the regular household trash for curbside collection. Liquid and semisolid infectious waste may be washed down the household drains into the sewer using plenty of water.
How should I dispose of used needles or other sharps from my home?
Isolate sharps in leak-proof, rigid, puncture-resistant containers such as a plastic soft drink bottle, a plastic milk bottle, or a sharps container commercially available. When the container is full, the lid should be tightly secured and taped on. The sharps container may then be placed in the regular household trash for curbside collection.
Why do I need to put used needles in a sharps container?
Improper management of discarded needles and other sharps can pose a health risk to the public and waste workers. For example, discarded needles may expose waste workers to potential needle stick injuries and potential infection when containers break open inside garbage trucks or needles are mistakenly sent to recycling facilities. Janitors and housekeepers also risk injury if loose sharps poke through plastic garbage bags. Used needles can transmit serious diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis.
Regulated Infectious Waste
My business generates more than 200 lbs of infectious waste each month. What do I need to do in order to be compliant with regulations?
Utah Rule R31316-2(1)requires that every owner and operator of a health facility or a transporter of infectious waste, regulated by Rule R315-316, that generates, transports, stores, treats or disposes of infectious waste must prepare and maintain on file a management plan for the waste that identifies the:
a) type and estimated quantity of waste generated or handled;
b) segregation, packaging, and labeling procedures;
c) collection, storage, and transportation procedures;
d) treatment or disposal methods that will be used; and
e) the person responsible for the management of the infectious waste.
For further information, please contact Utah DEQ at 801-536-0200.
My business collects infectious waste from generators and transports it to treatment centers. What do I need to do in order to be compliant with regulations?
All vehicles that collect or transport infectious waste within Davis County are required to be permitted by the health department. The only exception to this is for generators who transport less than 30 lbs of infectious waste that originated at their place of business. In this case, the vehicle must be inspected by the health department annually and the owner must pay an inspection fee, which is 50% of the permit fee.
My business treats infectious waste. What do I need to do in order to be compliant with regulations?
An operating permit must be acquired from the health department after facility plans and treatment methods have been reviewed.