Kentucky Medical Waste Requirements

A look at medical waste requirements in the state of Kentucky.

Over the last several weeks, we’ve taken a close look at medical waste regulations in different states across America, and while all have had similar requirements for disposal and storage, many have had different provisions in their waste management records.  Kentucky doesn’t actually have published regulations on how medical waste should be stored, disposed of and treated.  They do, however, have regulations on air quality in terms of incineration, and that’s about as in-depth as the state gets.

The Division for Air Quality regulates incineration and requires that all medical waste incinerators obtain a special permit prior to conducting medical waste incineration.

What is incineration?

A quick Google search will yield this common definition of incineration: “Incineration is a waste treatment process that involves the combustion of organic substances contained in waste materials.” Basically, medical waste is burned in a controlled manner in a dedicated incinerator.

Incineration comes with a few benefits, mostly that it reduces what goes into landfills, which can save municipalities on tax dollars. The waste is completely sterilized, the volume is reduced, and the waste is kept out of the physical environment.

Through Waste-to-Energy processes, incineration can be used to produce electricity and heat that can be used to power and heat nearby buildings.

While Federal law requires that certain types of infectious hospital waste be incinerated, such as body parts and lab cultures, not all medical waste needs to be burned. Using superheated, pressurized steam, hospitals can sterilize some medical waste so it can be harmlessly buried in landfills, also known as autoclaving.

Related to this, there is some information on Kentucky’s treatment provisions, including sharps disposal and storage treatment. According to the state, a sharp “… waste container shall be incinerated on or off site, or shall be rendered nonhazardous.” Containers must also be incinerated or rendered harmless by other means.

It is safe to assume that all medical facilities in the state of Kentucky have adopted the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) standards, which is a public law that creates the framework for the proper management of hazardous and non-hazardous solid waste.

Are you familiar with how your state handles medical waste requirements?


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Kentucky Medical Waste

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