DEP ANNOUNCES SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION
OCEAN COUNTY MEDICAL WASTE SWEEP
(04/90) TRENTON -- Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today
announced the successful completion of the Ocean County
Medical Waste Generator Compliance and Enforcement initiative.
The sweep, which DEP led in partnership with the Department
of Health and Senior Services, assessed compliance with
state requirements that protect the public from the potential
hazards of discarded needles, syringes, and other medical
"The Ocean County sweep shows that the State of New
Jersey must continue to identify medical waste generators
who should be registered. DEP is developing online registration
to encourage compliance and will work to more effectively
communicate its requirements for sorting, collecting and
disposing of medical waste," said Commissioner Campbell.
"Maintaining high standards for medical waste disposal
procedures provides the continued vitality of tourism, public
health and safety statewide."
The Ocean County Medical Waste Generator Compliance and
Enforcement sweep demonstrated that approximately eighty
percent of Ocean County medical waste generators maintain
a high level of compliance with state regulations. The
initiative included inspections at more than 1,541 facilities
and uncovered 341 environmental violations at 160 sites.
800 of the 1,541 sites inspected were found to be active
generators of regulated medical waste. 87 of the facilities
inspected were cited for a single violation, while 73 sites
were cited for multiple violations. 50 unregistered medical
waste generators accounted for 50% of the total violations.
"Compliance with the state's medical waste requirements
is important for the protection of the public's health,"
said Department of Health and Senior Services Commissioner
Clifton R. Lacy, M.D.
DEP and DHSS conducted the medical waste sweep in two
phases. The first phase, known as the Compliance Sweep,
began in March and focused on providing outreach and assistance
to regulated individuals, businesses and government operations
in the Barnegat Bay Watershed area. Regulated medical waste
generators affected by this initiative include: medical,
dental, and veterinary offices; hospitals; nursing homes;
assisted living facilities; convalescent homes; medical
analytical laboratories; outpatient surgical centers; biomedical
research facilities; funeral homes; schools; and body piercing
and tattoo parlors.
A Compliance Advisory Alert was mailed to over 1,700
known and potentially regulated individuals, businesses
and government operations as well as trade associations.
The Department of Commerce assisted in the compliance portion
by performing outreach to groups representing medical waste
generators. Subsequent to this outreach, a series of training
sessions was held in Brant Beach and Waretown.
The second phase, known as the Enforcement Sweep, began
in April and involved large-scale, unannounced inspections.
The majority of the violations uncovered in the sweep resulted
from improper documentation of waste disposal practices.
The most common violations included failure to retain copies
of annual reports summarizing waste generation activity,
failure to submit an annual report to DEP, and failure
to register with DEP as a medical waste generator. Failure
to retain copies of medical waste disposal tracking forms
and failure to use a tracking form for the disposal of
regulated medical waste were also among the most common
DEP and DHSS issued Notices of Violations at inspection
sites during the Enforcement Sweep, and DHSS is currently
directing further enforcement action. DHSS is addressing
non-compliance found during the Enforcement Sweep by issuing
penalty assessment notices to medical waste generators
who were found to violate regulations, such as failing
to register as a generator, failing to submit annual reports,
and failing to use approved tracking forms for shipments
of regulated waste. DHSS may require the development and
submission of a plan of correction to address violations
that have public health implications. Re-inspections will
evaluate implementation of the plans of correction. Penalties
will range from $1,500 to $3,000 per violation.
The Compliance and Enforcement Sweep stimulated a 64 percent
increase in new medical waste generator registrations in
Ocean County in April. The number of applications submitted
rose steadily after DEP and DHSS provided notice of the
impending sweep in February.
In response to the large number of violations related
to unregistered generators, DEP is developing a program
to enable medical waste generators to register via the
internet, increasing efficiency and ease of compliance
with state regulations.
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. Unless specifically
exempted or excluded from regulation regulated medical
waste or "RMW" is any solid waste generated in
the diagnosis, treatment or immunization of human beings
or animals; in research pertaining thereto; or in the production
or testing of biological material. Home generated medical
waste, such as syringes used by diabetics, are exempt from
these regulations. DHSS has developed safe disposal guidelines
for home generated medical waste.
For more information, visit the DEP Compliance & Enforcement
web site at: http://www.nj.gov/dep/enforcement/medwaste/medwaste.htm
Practical guidelines for the disposal of home generated
needles, syringes and other medical waste can be found
at DHSS' website at: http://www.state.nj.us/health/eoh/phss/syringe.pdf