New York State Ebola Waste Disposal Fact Sheet
What is Ebola?
Ebola is a virus that is spread through direct contact with body fluids of a person who is very ill with Ebola virus disease (EVD). Mortality rates associated with Ebola virus disease (EVD) can be quite high and there are no known antiviral treatments available for human infections with this virus.
What Infection Control Precautions Should be Followed?
Healthcare facilities delivering EVD patient care and those engaged in the handling of the associated waste that will be generated should follow both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) "EVD Infection Control Guidance" (found on this page in the right hand column) and the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) "Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Update #2". (Link leaves DEC's site, and can be found under "For Health Care Workers")
Is EVD-related Waste a Concern?
Yes. In New York State, the waste resulting from the treatment of EVD patients or EVD contaminated materials is considered Regulated Medical Waste (RMW). The amount of waste generated from the treatment of an EVD patient can be considerable due to associated disposable items and personal protective equipment that must be worn.
Anyone who generates RMW suspected of being contaminated with EVD materials (such as hospitals, funeral establishments, bio-response and hazardous materials cleanup businesses etc.) must notify the Department of the names of each permitted RMW transporter that will be used to transport the waste.
How is the Waste Managed?
There are both State and federal requirements that apply to the transport, treatment, and disposal of RMW. The RMW generated from EVD patient care must be treated before it can be disposed. The treatment can occur either at the healthcare facility where it is generated or at a treatment facility located at another location, such as a permitted commercial treatment facility that accepts RMW.
How is the Waste Treated?
Treatment of the RMW at the healthcare facility must be done in accordance with NYSDOH standards for operation and treatment. The treated RMW can then be disposed at a NYSDEC approved facility as a solid waste. The treated RMW must be accompanied by a certificate of treatment form, all sharps must be destroyed as well as treated, and the disposal facility must be approved by NYSDEC for this type of waste. Treatment of the RMW at a commercial facility, rather than at a healthcare facility authorized under NYSDOH regulations, requires a permit from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) under 6 NYCRR Part 360 Solid Waste Management Facilities (Part 360). Part 360 sets forth detailed requirements concerning the handling and treatment of RMW. Similar to RMW treated at a healthcare facility, the RMW that has been treated at a Part 360 permitted commercial facility can be disposed at a NYSDEC approved facility as a solid waste, in accordance with the criteria outlined above.
What About Liquids that May be Generated During Treatment?
Current CDC guidance states that sanitary sewers may be used for the safe disposal of liquid wastes from patients. NYSDOH and NYSDEC regulations allow facilities to discharge liquid or semi-liquid waste containing pathogens directly into a sanitary sewer, unless specifically prohibited by local law or ordinance. Additional information can be found on the NYSDOH website under Waste Management.
How is the Waste Transported?
The transport of both treated and untreated RMW requires a permit under 6 NYCRR Part 364 Waste Transporter Permits (Part 364). A transporter that will be transporting treated RMW from either a healthcare facility or a permitted commercial RMW treatment facility requires a Part 364 Waste Transporter permit to transport industrial-commercial waste. A transporter that will be transporting untreated RMW associated with the treatment of an EVD patient is subject to both United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) regulations and NYSDEC regulations. IMPORTANT: All EVD waste must be directly transported to the treatment or disposal facility with no transfer or storage allowed.
USDOT regulates how the waste must be packaged and otherwise managed during transport - See USDOT guidance in the right hand column of this page.
In addition to USDOT criteria, NYSDEC requires transporters that will be transporting untreated RMW associated with the treatment of EVD to obtain a permit to transport RMW under a Part 364 Waste Transporter permit with a special EVD certification. Current Part 364 transporters, including those currently approved to handle RMW, must modify their permits to transport RMW from EVD treatment to obtain the special EVD certification.
In order for a permitted RMW transporter to obtain authorization from the Department to transport EVD contaminated waste, the transporter must provide evidence that they have USDOT special permit or Party Status to DOT special permit (i.e. 16279) for packaging and transporting EVD waste and must complete and submit to NYSDEC a Certification for Transport of EVD Waste Form (PDF)(28 KB) and a completed medical waste tracking form (PDF)(94 KB) for each shipment of waste.