Biohazardous Waste: What the Law Says

Utah has a vibrant business community, and as these business run, they produce both hazardous and non-hazardous waste. Though hazardous waste disposal increases the cost of doing business, improper hazardous waste disposal in Utah can cost much more.

First, improper hazardous waste disposal can lead to interruption of business as operating licenses can be suspended or revoked due to noncompliance with waste disposal laws.

Second, victims of improper hazardous waste disposal in Utah can sue for the losses suffered. Biohazardous waste is one type of toxic waste produced by businesses in Utah; it is also referred to as regulated waste. This article discusses the rules governing the collection, transportation, and disposal of biohazardous waste in Utah.

What is biohazardous waste?

Biohazardous waste is trash that can carry infectious diseases. Examples of biohazardous waste include human blood, blood products, sharp waste, pathological waste, animal waste, and microbiological waste. Due to the severe risks improper disposal of regulated waste poses to human beings, Utah has come up with rules on how such waste should be stored, transported, and disposed of.

Infectious Waste Requirements

Utah law classifies biomedical waste generators into two: large quantity generators and small facilities. Large quantity generators are facilities that produce more than 200 pounds of biohazardous waste per month. Small facilities produce less than 200 pounds per months.

The rules governing the handling of more than 200 pounds of biohazardous waste are outlined in the Utah Administrative Code, Rule R315-316, also known as Infectious Waste Requirements. The requirements apply to facilities that generate more than 200 pounds of biohazardous waste per month; facilities that store, treat, or dispose of more than 200 pounds of regulated waste; and transporters who carry more than 200 pounds of biohazardous waste in any single load.

The facilities and transporters are required to have a biohazardous waste management plan. The plans should detail things such as the type and quantity of the waste; the steps followed in segregating, packaging, labeling, collection, transportation, treatment, and disposal of the waste; as well as the persons or departments responsible for waste management in the facility. Other highlights of the Infectious Waste Requirements are as follows: Improper disposal of biohazardous waste can cost businesses millions. Find out what the law says about disposal of such waste.

  • Human anatomical remains should be disposed of by interment or incineration. That includes fetal remains.
  • Infectious waste should be stored separately from other trash.
  • Biohazardous waste should be put in red or orange containers that bear the international biohazardous sign. The containers should also be labeled as “infectious waste,” biomedical waste,” or “biohazardous.”
  • Before reuse, infectious waste containers should be washed and decontaminated.
  • If biohazardous waste is stored for more than one week, it should be kept at a temperature below 5 degrees Celsius. The waste should not be stored for more than 60 days.
  • Biohazardous waste should not be transported in the same vehicle as other waste unless the biohazardous container is separate and leak-proof.
  • The waste should be loaded and unloaded by adequately-trained persons; also, they should have protective equipment.
  • Liquid and semi-solid biohazardous waste can be released into sewage systems for secondary treatment with the operator’s permission.

Facilities and transporters that handle less than 200 pounds of biohazardous waste are not regulated by Rule R315-316; they are governed by rules set by local health departments.

Improper disposal of biohazardous waste in Utah has serious legal implications that businesses should be keen to avoid. From time to time, you should audit your waste disposal practices for compliance with biohazardous waste disposal laws.

Author: Robin Gupta