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Environmental Health and Safety

Regulated Enviromental Waste Procedures

    1. Policy Statement

    There are several areas (including Student Health Services, Athletic Training, UPD and the Biology Department), on the SUNY New Paltz campus that produce biological/medical wastes. The biological/medical waste produced on this campus needs to be properly disposed of in accordance with DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation), EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), and other federal, state, and local ordinances. In order to comply with these regulations, SUNY New Paltz has established the following procedures.


    2. Requirements/ Registration

    This campus generates under 50 pounds of biomedical waste per month, therefore, it is considered a small quantity generator. Currently we contract out our medical waste with Health Care Waste Solutions (HCWS). The telephone number for HCWS is (607) 436-9715.

    Regulated medical / biohazard waste presents great potential for contamination and spreading of infectious agents. It is our responsibility as biomedical waste producers to ensure that this waste be disposed of properly. Therefore, it is this campus's policy that all biomedical waste that is contaminated be considered regulated medical waste and disposed of as such.


    3. General Policies


      A. All biological/medical waste will be initially collected at the following sites: (Athletic Department, Student Health Services, UPD, and the Biology Department,). Each department is responsible for purchasing their own biohazard bags, sharps and biohazard containers.


      B. All needles, needle-syringe units, scalpels, and razor blades (or any related sharp materials, ie., slides, pipettes, broken glass) generated by Student Health Services, Athletic Training, UPD or the Biology Department that become contaminated with infectious agents must be placed in red sharps container or red hard plastic box labeled as "BIOHAZARD". All sharps must be placed in a leak proof, rigid, puncture resistant containers. Students shall choose to bring their sharps containers to Student Health Services for disposal. According to Universal Precautions, once a needle has been opened and/or used it will be considered contaminated, and will not be used for any other reason except for its original intent.


      C. Biological waste mixed with hazardous waste, as defined in 40 CFR 261 is managed as hazardous waste, thus, whenever possible, it is our policy not to mix biological/medical waste with chemical hazardous waste. An exception to this policy may occur in some instances with ethidium bromide, as described below.


        D. Ethidium Bromide is commonly used in molecular biology laboratories. While it is not regulated as hazardous waste, the mutagenic properties of this substance may present a hazard if it is poured down the drain untreated or placed in the trash. Trace amounts of ethidium bromide in electrophoresis gels should not pose a hazard. Higher concentrations, e.g., when the color of the gel is dark pink or red, should not be placed in laboratory trash. EHS recommends the following:

        • Less than 0.1% ethidium bromide: place in laboratory trash;
        • 0.1% or greater ethidium bromide: place in biohazard box for incineration.

        Aqueous solutions containing less than 10ug/ml ethidium bromide can be released to the drain after diluting with copious amounts of water. Aqueous solutions containing greater than 10ug/ml as well as ethidium bromide solutions containing heavy metals, organics, cyanides or sulfides shall be properly labeled and placed in a Chemical Hazardous Waste Satellite Accumulation Area (SAA), for pickup and disposal by EHS. Gloves, test tubes, paper towels, etc., that are grossly contaminated with ethidium bromide should be placed in biohazard box for incineration. Consider deactivating in bleach before disposal if the items are significantly contaminated.


        E. Where applicable, Medical Waste Tracking Forms (available from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Solid & Hazardous Materials) will be filled out. Applicable manifests will be maintained at Student Health Services (Regulated Medical Waste Only), the Biology Department, Environmental Health and Safety and Health Care Waste Solutions.


        F. Health Care Waste Solutions will transport the campus’s biomedical waste to a facility to be incinerated.


        Type of Waste Red Bag & BioHazard Containers Sharps Containers Regular Trash for Solids or Drain for Solutions Chemical Hazardous Waste SAA
        Blood, blood elements, vials of blood, specimens for microbiological culture, used culture plates and used culture tubes. X      
        Animal specimens and carcasses X      
        Needle, syringe units, needles, scalpels, etc…   X    
        Glass slides and pipettes   X    
        Empty specimen containers     X  
        Used gloves (with the exception of those contaminated with Ethidium Bromide)     X  
        Paper towels for hand washing, computer paper, packaging materials, food waste     X  
        Materials to clean up non-hazardous spills     X  
        Materials to clean up hazardous spills X      
        Electrophoresis gels containing less than 0.1% Ethidium Bromide     X  
        Electrophoresis gels containing 0.1% or greater Ethidium Bromide X      
        Aqueous solutions containing less than 10ug/ml Ethidium Bromide     X  
        Aqueous solutions containing greater than 10ug/ml Ethidium Bromide       X
        Ethidium Bromide solutions containing heavy metals, organics, cyanides or sulfides       X
        Ethidium Bromide contaminated gloves, test tubes, paper towels, etc… X      


        Disposal Requests / Questions, Contact:
        Dave Serino, Asst. Dir. EHS @ x2386