So, you want to ship some material that has been determined to be a hazardous waste, do ya. You followed the EPA regulations to make your determination that you have a hazardous waste, and you will ship the waste to an EPA permitted and authorized Treatment, Storage and Disposal Facility (TSDF) for the proper treatment. But — another Federal Agency, the US Department of Transportation (USDOT or just DOT) will take precedence over the manner that the waste is shipped over the road. So you started by following EPA regulations in the determination and while the waste is on your site, then when you offer the waste for transport, the DOT regulations kick in. Once the waste is received at the TSDF, the EPA regulations govern the treatment of the waste.
What exactly is meant by on-site services, or sometimes called field services, by environmental companies? This is when an environmental service company places their highly trained and qualified employees on a client’s site to perform projects for a specified period of time. The time may be one day or up to several days for a service, such as a lab pack – or the client may want to sub-contract this personnel to work a full forty-hour workweek, every week.
The “determination” step is one of the critical areas when declaring and classifying hazardous waste. The question always arises – who is responsible for determining if a waste should be classified as a hazardous waste. Below is a great explanation to help answer this question.
Q: A laboratory chemist produces miscellaneous analytical waste and accumulates the waste in a nearby satellite accumulation container. When the container is full, the lab’s environmental group gathers applicable information from the chemist and from other sources as needed in order to make a hazardous waste determination. Since the chemist was the person who actually generated the waste, who may determine whether the waste is hazardous — the chemist or the environmental group?
Medicines improve our quality of life, but there are some important issues regarding the proper disposal of unneeded or unwanted medicines. The disposal of pharmaceuticals when no longer needed poses a threat to our environment. Sharps Compliance has developed a program to manage these unwanted pharmaceuticals safely and in compliance with all federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
One of the ramifications of mismanagement of unused medications is the environmental effects resulting from poor pharmaceutical disposal practices. Through the years, pharmaceuticals have been largely discarded through either flushing or “sinking” them into the wastewater stream or discarding them into the solid waste stream. In the first instance, the wastewater is treated to remove physical, chemical, and biological contaminants, such as sediment, bacteria, and viruses. However, this treatment does not remove all organic molecules, which are inherent in pharmaceuticals. Thus, many of these molecules remain entrained in the treated waste water which is discharged into reservoirs, rivers, or lakes. Likewise, drugs disposed of as solid waste (into landfills) may leach these organic molecules into aquifers and into the fresh water supply.
There has been increased scrutiny of the generation of hazardous waste in the retail industry – especially in the pharmacy area of stores. The importance of correctly managing the disposal of pharmaceuticals has become a critical issue. There is a category of waste that describes chemicals and constituents that are harmful to the environment – and these materials are classified as hazardous wastes under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). A number of drugs and pharmaceutical formulations meet the definition of hazardous waste when discarded – and in some cases the empty containers that these pharmaceuticals came in may also need to be managed as hazardous waste.