Special (Regulated) Medical Waste
What is Special Medical Waste?
Special medical waste is sometimes known as hazardous medical waste or infectious medical waste. Maryland regulates the treatment and disposal of this waste under Md. Code Ann. Health-General, §18-102 (a), “The Secretary shall adopt rules and regulations necessary to prevent: (1) The introduction of an infectious or contagious disease into this State or other disease that endangers public health in this State; or (2) The spread of an infectious or contagious disease or other disease that endangers public health in this State.”
In Maryland both the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Department of the Environment have responsibility for special (otherwise known as regulated) medical waste. The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is responsible for the definition of special (regulated) medical waste and the criteria by which treatment methods are evaluated (as to whether the treatment creates a regulated or non-regulated waste product). Links for the regulations (COMAR 10.06.06) are given below. The Department of the Environment (MDE) is responsible for permitting and regulation of all aspects of special (regulated) medical waste transportation and also requires medical waste handlers to notify MDE of medical waste activity. (Generators are only required to file a notification if they generate 50 pounds or more special medical waste in a calendar month or have more than 50 pounds of special medical waste on site at any time).
One question that comes up frequently concerns new or alternative treatment technologies for special medical waste. New or alternative treatment technologies for special medical waste (other than autoclaving, chemical disinfection, cremation, disinfection, mechanical destruction after decontamination, or incineration) and for sharps (other than encapsulation, incineration, or mechanical destruction after decontamination) must meet specific criteria (COMAR 10.06.06.06).
To find out more, contact the DHMH Environmental Health Coordination Program help line at 866-703-3266, or the MDE Hazardous Waste Program at 410-537-3344.
Both the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Department of Environment are responsible for the regulation of special medical waste. The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is responsible for defining special medical waste and evaluating whether specific treatment methods are or are not acceptable means of treating special medical waste. The Department of Environment has regulations that govern all aspects of the transport and disposal of special medical waste.
10.06.06.01: Scope and Purpose
10.06.06.02: Definitions (including definitions of special medical waste and treatment technologies)
10.06.06.03: Handling of Special Medical Waste (references to federal and MDE requirements)
10.06.06.04: Treatment of Special Medical Waste, Excluding Sharps, Before Disposal
10.06.06.05: Treatment of Sharps before Disposal
10.06.06.06: Alternative Treatment Systems (including criteria for treatment)
10.06.06.07: Disposal of Special Medical Waste
26.13.11.01: Special Medical Wastes
26.13.12.01: Standards Applicable to Generators of Special Medical Waste
26.13.13: Standards Applicable to Transporters of Special Medical Waste
MDE Resources for Special (Regulated) Medical Wastes
Medical Waste transportation:
*This form is available upon request from the Hazardous Waste Program. To request a complete application package or individual application forms, please contact Rose Peay at 410-537-3344.