We recently posted an article on our blog titled: Biomedical Waste Cleanup. That article is a good place to start if you are looking for an overview of what biomedical waste is and how it can be safely treated and disposed of. The article you are reading now is a followup to the previous article.

In the interest of brevity, and ease of readability, we have simplified the following article. We have focused on what must be done to safely collect untreated waste in Alabama, and still, it is highly complicated! This further demonstrates the need for qualified, trained professionals who are well-versed in what is legally necessary to safely collect, store, transport, treat, and dispose of biomedical waste.

If you would like more detailed information, please click here to read the Alabama Department of Environmental Management Land Division Medical Waste Program, Division 17.

Collection of Untreated Waste in Alabama

Collection of untreated medical waste intended for transport, and not internment, must be packaged and maintained in the following manner:

  1. Medical waste must be packaged in containers which have either a red background color or utilize red lettering with a contrasting background color. The words infectious, medical waste, or biohazardous must be clearly displayed on the packaging and/or contain the International Biological Hazard Symbol.
  2. Containers must be waterproof. Containers must also be strong and not easily rip, tear, or burst under normal circumstances.
  3. Sharps must be placed in leak-proof, puncture-resistant, sealed containers.
  4. Small containers placed into larger shipping containers must meet the same requirements as larger containers as well as utilizing either a red background color, red lettering, or symbol which contrasts with adjacent colors. The words infectious, medical waste, or biohazardous must be clearly displayed on the packaging and/or contain the International Biological Hazard Symbol. The wording must be either printed on the container or securely attached on a label on two or more sides.
  5. The outermost layer of packaging must have the following information: Name and address, the date the waste was packaged in its outermost container, and one of the following words or phrases used in conjunction with the International Biological Hazard Symbol: infectious, medical waste, or biohazardous
  6. Containers of medical waste must remain intact without signs of leakage until treatment and must be handled so that the integrity of the packaging is not compromised.
  7. Disposable single-use containers must be rigid, and resistant to leaks, punctures, bursts, and tears under normal conditions. Reusable containers shall meet the preceding requirements in addition to being constructed of smooth, easily cleanable, impermeable, corrosion-resistant materials.
  8. Collection, storage, and transportation containers must be constructed of materials that are compatible with the treatment method to be utilized:
  • Single-use containers destined for incinerators must be burnable.
  • Containers destined for steam sterilizers must allow the waste to be treated at the required temperature and pressure.
  • Reusable containers must be decontaminated after each use with an approved treatment method.

9.  Medical waste, such as liquids which are amenable to disposal by sanitary sewer may be discharged subject to the following conditions:

  • Sanitary sewer system must provide secondary treatment
  • Solid and liquid waste removed from systems which do not provide secondary treatment must be further processed in a sanitary sewer system that provides secondary treatment. You must obtain prior approval for sewer systems not regulated by the Water Division of the Department from the Local Health Officer.
  • Sanitary sewer system must be operated so that medical waste will not bypass the treatment facility during normal operating conditions.

As you can see, it is a very complicated and involved process, and safely collecting untreated waste is only one piece. That’s where Alabama Bio-Clean comes in. We know the regulations like you know your ABCs. When you hire us, you can put your mind at ease knowing that we have followed every step to keep you, your family, and community, safe.