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Biomedical Waste

Environmental Health

Biomedical waste program protects health care workers, sanitations workers and the general public from risks associated with potentially infectious biomedical waste. If biomedical waste is handled improperly, these workers are at risk for contracting dangerous diseases.

Florida Department of Health and Department of Environmental Protection have responsibilities under this program.  Department of Environmental Protection has primary responsibility for biomedical waste incineration and final disposal.  Department of Health has primary authority and responsibility for facilities that generate, transport, store or treat biomedical waste through processes other than incineration.

Chapter 64E-16, Florida  Administrative Code (F.A.C.) requires health care professionals to ensure proper disposal of the biomedical waste that they generate.

Biomedical waste generated by individuals in their own homes from use of syringes or diagnostic lancets also should be properly packaged and disposed. Indian River County Utilities partners with the DOH-Indian River in providing a community Sharps disposal and container exchange program for Indian River County residents. DOH-Indian River, Environmental Health serves as the primary location. Other approved sites are listed on the Sharps Disposal Awareness flyer.

Medical waste should not be confused with biomedical waste. DOH-Indian River is unable to accept unwanted medications. To protect the environment and the public properly dispose of unwanted or expired prescriptions and over the counter medications. Procedures for disposal are found on the How to Dispose of Unwanted Medications flyer. A locked box for non-liquid medical waste is located at the Indian River County Sheriff's Office.

Complaints concerning biomedical waste are investigated locally by DOH-Indian River that has the resources to clean up small amounts of improperly disposed biomedical waste. Emergency situations are referred to the Department of Environmental Protection Bureau of Emergency Response at 850-245-2010.

Code requires biomedical waste generating facilities to provide training to personnel whose responsibilities include some aspect of managing biomedical waste. Personnel must be trained prior to assuming any duties associated with biomedical waste and must receive an annual refresher course. Training must detail the procedures included in the facilities written operating plan. For your convenience DOH-Indian River, Environmental Health has a Sample Biomedical Waste Plan and Biomedical Waste Training.

For more information on the biomedical waste program and permitting requirements, please visit the Florida Department of Health Biomedical Waste Program webpage.


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