Managing and Disposing of Medical Waste
Requirements for the management and disposal of medical waste in Texas, with links to rules, guidance, and forms.
- Definition of Medical Waste
- Medical Waste Management
- Information for Generators of Medical Waste
- Meaning of the Terms "On-Site" and "Off-Site" in Medical Waste Management
- Licensed Hospitals as Collection Stations for Generators of Small Quantities of Medical Waste
- Storing Medical Waste
- Transferring Medical Waste
- Transporting Medical Waste
- Treating Medical Waste
- Disposing of Medical Waste
- Rules, Guidance Documents, and Forms
- For More Information
Definition of Medical Waste
Medical waste includes treated and untreated special waste from health care-related facilities (defined in 25 TAC §1.134 ) that is comprised of animal waste, bulk blood, bulk human blood, bulk human body fluids, microbiological waste, pathological waste, and sharps, as well as "regulated medical waste" (defined in 49 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 173, §173.134(a)(5) ). The term does not include medical waste produced on a farm or ranch (as defined in 34 TAC, Chapter 3, §3.296(f) ), nor does the term include artificial, nonhuman materials removed from a patient and requested by the patient, including, but not limited to, orthopedic devices and breast implants. Health care-related facilities do not include single or multi-family dwellings, and hotels, motels, or other establishments that provide lodging and related services for the public.
Medical Waste Management
Information for Generators of Medical Waste
According to 30 TAC §330.13(e) , a person who generates less than 50 pounds per month of untreated medical waste and transports their own waste to an authorized medical waste storage or processing facility is not required to obtain a permit, registration, notification, or other authorization. Other generators that transport untreated medical waste or conduct the activities described in the following sections may be required to obtain an authorization, depending on the activities conducted, and generator status as described in 30 TAC §330.1211(a)(1) and (2).
All generators of medical waste should become familiar with the rules that apply to generators, in 30 TAC §330.1207 . If you are a generator of medical waste and want to treat your own waste on-site, you must notify TCEQ as explained in the Treating Medical Waste section below. Additional information for medical waste generators is available in the guidance documents listed at the bottom of this page.
Meaning of the Terms "On-Site" and "Off-Site" in Medical Waste Management
Several of the rules regarding medical waste management use the terms "On-Site" and "Off-Site" in reference to the location where medical waste was generated. The rule in 30 TAC §330.1205 explains that for the purposes of the medical waste management rules (30 TAC Chapter 330, Subchapter Y), medical waste managed on property that is owned or effectively controlled by one entity and that is within 75 miles of the point of generation or at an affiliated facility shall be considered to be managed on-site. An affiliated facility means a health care-related facility that generates a medical waste that is routinely stored, processed, or disposed of on a shared basis in an integrated medical waste management unit owned, operated by a hospital, and located within a contiguous health care complex. Medical waste management practices that do not meet those criteria are regarded as off-site management.
Licensed Hospitals as Collection Stations for Generators of Small Quantities of Medical Waste
A licensed hospital may function as a medical waste collection and transfer facility for generators who generate less than 50 pounds per month of untreated medical waste, under the provisions of 30 TAC §330.9(e) . The hospital must be located either: (1) in an incorporated area with a population of less than 25,000 and in a county with a population of less than one million; or (2) in an unincorporated area that is not within the extraterritorial jurisdiction of a city with a population more than 25,000 or within a county with a population of more than one million.
The hospital must obtain a municipal solid waste (MSW) Type V registration for a medical waste collection station, and generators must transport their own waste to the collection station.
Additional requirements are outlined in the medical waste collection station rule in 30 TAC §330.1217 .
Storing Medical Waste
Any person storing medical waste must comply with the requirements in 30 TAC §330.1209 . Generators of medical waste are not required to refrigerate the waste, but must store it in a secure manner and not create a nuisance.
Transferring Medical Waste
Packages of untreated medical waste may be transferred between transportation units at and on the premises of a facility authorized as a transfer station, as a storage facility, or as a treatment/processing facility that has been approved to function as a transfer station according to the provisions of 30 TAC §330.1213 . Such a facility must obtain an MSW Type V registration under 30 TAC §330.9(n) .
Packages of untreated medical waste may also be transferred at medical waste collection stations under the conditions outlined in 30 TAC §330.1217 .
Persons transferring untreated medical waste should review information in 30 TAC §330.1213 on how to respond to a transportation unit malfunction or a traffic accident involving shipments of medical waste, and reporting requirements in those circumstances.
Transporting Medical Waste
Treated Medical Waste
Medical waste that has been treated according to the requirements of 30 TAC 330.1219(a) may be managed and disposed as routine municipal solid waste, provided labeling and other requirements of §330.1219(b), (c), and (e) are met.
Untreated Medical Waste
Untreated medical waste may be transported by the generator, or other authorized transporter following the requirements in 30 TAC §330.1211 . The transporter must initiate and maintain a record of each waste shipment collection and deposition as required by §330.1211(h) , using the Regulated Medical Waste Manifest (form TCEQ-310, in PDF; help with PDF).
Generators who generate 50 pounds or less per month of medical waste may transport their own untreated waste to an authorized medical waste collection station, transfer station, storage facility, or processing facility, and are exempted from permit, registration, and notification requirements by 30 TAC §330.1211(a)(1) .
Generators who generate more than 50 pounds per month of medical waste may also transport their own untreated waste according to the provisions of 30 TAC §330.1211(a)(2) to a transfer station, storage facility, or processing facility authorized to receive medical waste, but must comply with §330.1211(d)-(l) . These generators must notify the commission that they are a self-transporter of medical waste, provide certain additional information, and submit an annual summary report, using forms provided on our page titled Transporting Medical Waste.
Medical waste may be transported by the United States Postal Service in accordance with the Domestic Mail Manual, under 30 TAC §330.1211(a)(3) , without a separate authorization.
All other transporters of untreated medical waste that do not meet one of the preceding provisions must register as a transporter of medical waste as required by 30 TAC §330.9(l) , using forms provided on our page titled Transporting Medical Waste. Medical waste transporters who are required to register must also obtain and maintain financial assurance for automobile liability and pollution liability.
Search for a Registered Medical Waste Transporter
Disposition of Untreated Medical Waste
Untreated medical waste must be deposited at a facility that has been authorized to accept untreated medical waste. Untreated medical waste that is transported out of state must be deposited at a facility that is authorized by the appropriate agency in the other state having jurisdiction over such waste.
Interstate Transportation of Medical Waste
Under 330.1215 , persons who engage in the transportation of waste that does not originate or terminate in Texas are exempt from the medical waste rules in 30 TAC Chapter 330, Subchapter Y, except §330.1211(c)(1) and (2) regarding transportation units used to collect or transport untreated medical waste.
Treating Medical Waste
On-site treatment may be conducted by the generator of the waste provided the generator notifies the TCEQ as required by 30 TAC §330.11(f) , or by a mobile, on-site treater of medical waste who is registered under §330.9(m) and who operates according to the requirements of §330.1221 . A generator who intends to treat medical waste on site must indicate in the notification to the TCEQ that an approved method as required by 25 TAC §1.136 will be utilized, and that the generator will maintain records of the treatment process as required by 30 TAC §330.1219(a). A generator of medical waste that is treated on site must dispose of the treated medical waste in accordance with §330.1219(b) through (e).
Off-site treatment must be conducted at a treatment facility authorized to accept untreated medical waste. Owners and operators of medical-waste treatment facilities must obtain an MSW Type V registration as specified in 30 TAC §330.9(n) . Owners or operators of Type V processing facilities that accept delivery of untreated medical waste for which a shipping document is required under §330.1211 must ensure that a shipping document accompanies each shipment and that it is properly completed as required by §330.219(h) .
Medical waste that has been treated according to the requirements of 30 TAC 330.1219(a) may be managed and disposed of as routine municipal solid waste, provided labeling and other requirements of §330.1219(b), (c), and (e) , §330.171(c)(2) , and 25 TAC §1.136 are met.
Disposing of Medical Waste
Treated medical waste may be disposed of in a permitted MSW Type I or Type IAE landfill (described in 30 TAC §330.5(a)(1) ) according to the provisions and exceptions specified in §330.1219 , §330.171(c)(2) , and 25 TAC §1.136 .
Untreated medical waste may be accepted for disposal at a landfill in the event of a natural or man-made disaster under 30 TAC §330.171(c)(1) if authorized in writing by the executive director. Under such circumstances, the waste will be handled as a special waste, and may require the generator to complete a Request for Authorization for Disposal of a Special Waste (Form TCEQ-0152, in PDF; help with PDF), and the generator to complete a Regulated Medical Waste Manifest (form TCEQ-310, in PDF; help with PDF).
Owners and operators of landfills must obtain a permit before accepting waste.
Rules, Guidance Documents, and Forms
- Rules for Medical Waste Management – 30 TAC Chapter 330, Subchapter Y
- Texas Regulations on Medical Waste (RG-001) (in PDF; help with PDF)
- Regulated Medical Waste Manifest (Form TCEQ-310) (in PDF; help with PDF)
For More Information
Contact us if you have questions about the disposal of medical waste.