As a California medical waste removal company, we are aware that managing liquid waste in a medical facility poses many challenges. You have to worry about containment of the liquid, safety of your staff, and also your growing expenses. GLYCON LLC would like to provide a brief overview of different methods used today for Medical Waste Collection and Medical Waste Disposal of liquid medical waste, as well as the best industry practices.
Types of Fluids: There exist many types of fluids requiring special disposal procedures.
You may encounter the following taking into account your medical practice :
Blood, Spinal fluids, Saliva (especially in dental practices), Dialysis waste, Amniotic fluids, Other bodily secretions and fluids, Lab cultures and specimen, Medications, such as chemotherapy drugs.
These fluids may be generated in numerous areas in your facility, which is where you will need to establish the collection process. It is easier to spill fluid medical waste and is more difficult to completely clean up. But when you collect it at the point of generation, it’s much more manageable. Whether it’s the operating suite, the lab or the ER, your employees should know the procedures and have the tools to dispose of fluid waste fast and efficiently.
Regulated Medical Waste
Most types of fluid waste fall under regulated medical waste category. Blood and other bodily fluids are often considered biohazardous or infectious waste, as they may be contaminated with hepatitis B, HIV and other dangerous pathogens and viruses. Some other fluids, such as certain medications and chemotherapy drugs may be classified as RCRA hazardous waste and will require different disposal procedures. Make sure your employees can identify the type of waste they are dealing with and apply proper collection and disposal guidelines practiced by your facility.
Collection of Liquid Waste
Liquid medical waste is collected into a suction canister at the point of origin. Liquid may, sometimes, saturate other items, like gauze or PPE, or materials used to clean up a spill. This waste, although technically not liquid, has a potential to release the liquid when compressed, which means special care should be taken when it comes to packaging.
Liquid medical waste must be placed in containers which can be cloed and are specifically designed to contain the liquid and prevent leaks. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has determined packaging regulations that apply to transportation of regulated medical waste, including liquid waste. DOT requires for potentially infectious liquid waste to be packaged in several layers. For certain types of waste, such as Category A waste, there has to be an absorbent material between the inner receptacle and the outer packaging in case of a spill.
Disposal of Fluid Medical Waste
There are several methods of liquid waste disposal that are used by medical facilities throughout the U.S:
Solidifying: In case of adding a solidifying agent to liquid waste you will have the opportunity to lower the risk of spills. The solidified liquid can then be packaged into the red bag (if it’s a biohazard) and disposed of as red-bag waste. If there is disinfectant in the solidifying agent, it may be possible to dispose of the waste as non-regulated medical waste, which costs less than red-bagging it.
Fluid Waste Management Systems: Fluid waste management systems can be integrated with your facility’s sewer system so as to collect and dispose of fluid waste at the same time. A suction tube can be used to transport every last drop of the liquid into the sewer for disinfection and disposal. These suction stations can be built into operating rooms or placed throughout your facility where they are most required. They can even be mobile, rolled around from room to room and then to the disposal station.
However, in order to make sure that t fluid medical waste is allowed to be poured in the sewer check with your local regulations and wastewater treatment facility.
What NOT to Do
It used to be a common practice to place suction containers with the waste liquid into the red biohazard bags. The problem with this approach is that it can get really expensive. Primarily, not the whole liquid waste qualifies as biohazardous, and therefore doesn’t have to go into the red bag. Next, this prevents your facility from reusing the suction canisters, which leads to additional expenses.
Don’t Pour Down the Drain
It can be dangerous to pour liquid waste down the drain, because when a liquid is poured there may occur splashing and aerosolization may occur when a liquid is poured. The employee performing this job may be put at risk of both coming in contact with biological pathogens and spreading them.
In case of having questions about liquid medical waste disposal? Please, contact our experts at GLYCON LLC and we’ll be glad to recommend you which containers to use and which federal and state regulations apply to your facility.