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Environmental Health Division - Medical Waste Management

Within the regulatory framework of the Medical Waste Management Act, the Environmental Health Division, ensures the proper handling and disposal of medical waste throughout Siskiyou County.  

Medical Waste Management Act (MWMA) 
All Generators of Medical Waste

On September 25, 2014, Assembly Bill 333 (AB333) was signed by the Governor. AB333 amends multiple sections of the Medical Waste Management Act. Among other changes, the Siskiyou County Environmental Health Division will no longer issue Limited Quantity Hauling Exemptions. The MWMA requires all businesses which generate medical waste to treat that waste, or have someone else treat it, prior to disposal. Historically, businesses considered to be small quantity generators (those generating less than 200 lbs. of medical waste per month), were exempt from any regulation.

The major points are summarized as follows:

  1.  All medical waste must be treated prior to disposal.  
  2.  2. Medical waste includes bio-hazardous and sharps waste and is defined as “Any bio-hazardous, pathology, pharmaceutical, or trace chemotherapy waste not regulated by the Federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (Public Law 94-580), as amended.”   
  3.  Medical waste does not include:
    • (a) Waste generated in food processing or biotechnology that does not contain an infectious agent.
    • (b) Waste which is not bio-hazardous, such as paper towels, paper products, articles containing non-fluid blood, and other medical solid waste products.
      (c) Hazardous waste, radioactive waste, or household waste, including, but not limited to, home-generated sharps waste.
  4. Approved treatment methods include sterilization, incineration, new microwave technology or interment (which means to encase the waste in a solid or semisolid material). A business can either treat the waste itself or have someone else do it for them.
  5. Small quantity generators located within 400 yards of each other may use a common storage facility. Storage of bio-hazardous or infectious waste shall not exceed 7 days at temperatures above 0 degrees Centigrade. Bio-hazardous waste can be stored for up to 90 days at temperatures at or below 0 degrees Centigrade without obtaining prior written approval.
  6. A small quantity generator, large quantity generator, or parent organization that employs health care professionals who generate medical waste may transport in limited quantities up to 35.2 pounds of medical waste to a central location of accumulation.
  7. Small quantity generators that treat their own waste must register with the Environmental Health Division (EHD) and are subject to inspection. This does not apply to those whose only treatment is the interment of sharps.
  8. Generators that produce more than 200 pounds per month are considered to be large quantity generators. Large quantity generators must also register with EHD and are subject to inspection.
  9. Permits issued by EHD are required for all facilities that treat medical waste and for all common storage facilities shared by two or more generators. This also does not apply to those whose only treatment is the interment of sharps.
  10. Large quantity generators and the small quantity generators that treat their own waste shall prepare and file a medical waste management plan.