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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 7, 2004

Contact: Erin Phalon (DEP) (609) 984-1795
Donna Leusner (DHSS) 984-7160

DEP AND DHSS TO CONDUCT COMPLIANCE AND ENFORCEMENT SWEEP OF
OCEAN COUNTY MEDICAL WASTE GENERATORS IN SPRING 2004

(04/33) TRENTON - In a multi-county effort, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) will conduct countywide compliance inspections of regulated medical waste generators in Ocean County this spring to ensure that medical waste is properly disposed of and the public is protected from the potential hazards of discarded needles, syringes and other medical waste.

Prior to conducting inspections, the DEP and DHSS will meet and work cooperatively with business representatives to help regulated entities comply with environmental laws.

"Assuring the cleanliness and safety of our shores is critical to maintaining a vibrant tourist economy," said DEP Commissioner Campbell. "Shore communities have an important stake in sorting, collecting and disposing of medical waste. We will work closely with shore communities and business owners to help them understand and maintain compliance with medical waste requirements, and then the onus will be on medical waste generators to demonstrate that their practices do not threaten environmental and public health standards. "

Health and Senior Services Commissioner Clifton R. Lacy, M.D. stressed that the state does not have direct evidence that shows that medical waste is being improperly disposed in shore communities. "However, because medical waste can represent a potential health hazard, it is important that a high level of compliance with the medical waste requirements be maintained.''

The DEP and DHSS will conduct the medical waste sweep in two phases. The first phase, known as the Compliance Sweep, will begin this month and will focus on providing outreach and assistance to known and potentially regulated individuals, businesses and government operations. The second phase, known as the Enforcement Sweep, will involve a large-scale inspection effort. Both phases will be led by DEP in partnership with the DHSS.

DEP and DHSS will address non-compliance found during the Enforcement Sweep by issuing Notices of Violation and penalties where appropriate. The Enforcement Sweep will take place over the course of at least one full week beginning this month. DEP and DHSS regulate the handling, storage and disposal of medical waste in order to comply with the Comprehensive Regulated Medical Waste Management Act, which was enacted by the state of New Jersey in March of 1989.

For more information, visit the DEP Compliance & Enforcement web site at http://www.nj.gov/dep/enforcement/medwaste/medwaste.htm.

In a related matter, the DHSS also reminds individuals who generate needles, syringes and other medical waste at home of practical guidelines to dispose of these items safety. They can be found at DHSS' website at www.state.nj.us/health/eoh/phss/syringe.pdf.

 

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