A look at Texas medical waste requirements.
Texas medical waste is managed by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and it oversees the storage, collection, handling, transportation, and processing of medical waste. The stringent set of rules applies to all persons, whether it’s a generator, manager, or third-party waste hauler that processes, stores, and disposes of infectious waste.
As outlined by the state’s administrative code, medical waste is defined as “…treated and untreated special waste from health care-related facilities that is comprised of animal waste, bulk blood, bulk human blood, bulk human body fluids, microbiological waste, pathological waste, and sharps from the source…” Exceptions to this definition are farms or ranches that produce medical waste, however there are measures in place for such facilities. It also excludes what is considered “artificial” medical waste, such as orthopedic devices and breast implants.
Much like other states, Texas medical waste generators must store medical waste in containers that are “…rigid, leak resistant, impervious to moisture, of sufficient strength to prevent tearing and bursting under normal conditions of use and handling, and sealed to prevent leakage or as otherwise required by the United States Department of Transportation.” Used sharps must be placed in rigid, marked, and puncture-resistant containers, such as sharps containers.
Generators are grouped by how much volume they produce; small quantity generators (SQG) are generators that produce 50 pounds or less of medical waste per month, whereas large quantity generators produce more than 50 pounds of medical waste per month. Interestingly, neither are required by the state to obtain a permit, registration, notification, or other authorization to store medical waste on site. The caveat is that the waste must only consist of medical waste generated on site. As long as the waste is secured and does not create a nuisance, no paperwork is required.
Both small quantity and large quantity generators are allowed to transport their own untreated waste to a transfer station, storage facility, or processing facility so long as they maintain proper paperwork, such as shipping manifests.
Texas also allows licensed hospitals to act as a medical waste collection and transfer facility for generators who generate less than 50 pounds per month of untreated medical waste.
Once medical waste has been treated, it may be disposed of as routine municipal solid waste in an approved municipal solid waste landfill. Interesting trivia: Texas does allow the disposal untreated medical waste at a landfill, but only in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.
Texas last revised it’s medical waste rules in 2016 to further clarify the storage, management, disposal and treatment of its medical waste, but most importantly to update its permit and registration process.
The correct way of disposing medical waste varies drastically from state to state and Texas has it’s own specific rules. Dealing with it can be confusing, which is why it’s important to work with a licensed and compliant medical waste hauler as approved by your state’s laws and regulations.
Learn how other states handle medical waste requirements.
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