Title XV of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act (Act) establishes statutory requirements to ensure that Potentially Infectious Medical Waste (PIMW) will be handled in a safe and responsible manner. On June 17, 1993, the Illinois Pollution Control Board (Board), in accordance with Title VII of the Act, adopted regulations prescribing the standards and criteria for the handling of PIMW. These regulations became effective June 21, 1993. The requirements found in the Act and the Board’s regulations are intended to reduce the occupational and environmental health risks that occur during the storage, treatment, transport, transfer, and disposal of PIMW.
The information presented in this fact sheet does not eliminate any person’s responsibility to fulfill any legal obligation under the Act or regulations promulgated thereunder.
The purpose of this fact sheet is to provide some of the PIMW requirements, found in both the Act and the Board’s regulations. For the complete requirements, please see Title XV of the Act and 35 Illinois Administrative Code (Ill. Adm. Code): Subtitle M.
For additional information on PIMW regulations in Illinois, contact the PIMW Coordinator at the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency; Bureau of Land #33; 1021 North Grand Avenue East; P.O. Box 19276; Springfield, Illinois 62794-9276, or call (217) 524-3289.
Potentially Infectious Medical Waste (PIMW) is waste generated in connection with:
Types of PIMW wastes are:
PIMW does NOT include:
"... discarded materials, including carcasses, body parts, body fluids, blood, or bedding originating from animals inoculated during research, production of biological agents, or pharmaceutical testing with agents infectious to humans."
Therefore, carcasses and waste generated from animals not inoculated with agents infectious to humans would not be PIMW. Animal carcasses that do not meet the definition of "animal waste" may be disposed of in a lawfully permitted landfill. Current Illinois land disposal regulations do not prohibit such activity. However, a landfill operator has the authority to refuse acceptance of any waste at the landfill(s).
The Act identifies used and unused sharps generated in connection with the diagnosis, treatment, or immunization of animals as PIMW. The Act defines "used and unused sharps" as follows:
Used sharps: This waste shall include but not be limited to discarded sharps used in animal or human patient care, medical research, or clinical or pharmaceutical laboratories; hypodermic, intravenous, or other medical needles; hypodermic or intravenous syringes; Pasteur pipettes; scalpel blades; or blood vials. This waste shall also include but not be limited to other types of broken or unbroken glass (including slides and cover slips) in contact with infectious agents.
Unused sharps: This waste shall include but not be limited to the following unused, discarded sharps: hypodermic, intravenous, or other needles; hypodermic or intravenous syringes; or scalpel blades.
Discarded live or attenuated vaccines, as well as culture dishes and devices used to inoculate or mix cultures that are generated in connection with the diagnosis, treatment, or immunization of animals, are PIMW.
Livestock producers should separate their PIMW from other types of wastes (i.e., general refuse, special wastes, hazardous wastes, and radioactive wastes). For PIMW commingled with other waste types, the whole lot must be managed in accordance with the regulations for each waste type.
The PIMW should be sorted into 3 categories: (1) sharps, (2) oversized PIMW, and (3) all other PIMW. To insure that PIMW is packaged securely and will not leak during transport, the containers should be (1) rigid, (2) leak-resistant, (3) impervious to moisture, (4) of sufficient strength to prevent tearing or bursting, and (5) sealed to prevent leakage.
In addition to the requirements listed above, sharps must be packaged in containers that are also puncture-resistant. Oversized PIMW must be covered or packaged so that contact with transport workers and the public is minimized. Sharps may not be packaged with oversized PIMW.
Livestock producers who package PIMW for off-site transportation must mark on two opposite sides of the exterior of the PIMW package (on one side of oversized PIMW), in lettering that is readable at a minimum distance of five feet: (1) the word 'BIOHAZARD', (2) the word 'Sharps' if the package contains sharps, and (3) the International Biohazard Symbol.
In addition, the producer must securely attach a water-resistant label or tag to each package and write in indelible ink: (1) Generator's name, (2) Generator's address, and (3) Generator's phone number (24-hour number, if available).
Inner packages must be marked with the word 'BIOHAZARD', the word 'SHARPS' if they contain sharps, and the International Biohazard Symbol.
Livestock producers who store PIMW prior to treatment or disposal on-site, or transport off-site must comply with the following:
Treatment residuals must be disposed of in accordance with all applicable regulations.
Residues from cleaning and disinfecting anything contaminated with PIMW are regulated as PIMW, except when discharged directly into a sanitary or combined sewer in accordance with 35 Ill. Adm. Code: Subtitle C (Water Pollution Control). Please note: Local government or sanitary districts may have requirements that are more restrictive than these regulations. The generator of any residue is responsible for checking with the local sanitary district before disposing of any liquid PIMW into the sewer system. Solids are prohibited from disposal into any sewer system.
Residues which have been treated as PIMW in accordance with these regulations are no longer considered PIMW and may go to any municipal landfill, EXCEPT:
A livestock producer may: (1) use a permitted PIMW transporter; (2) use a noncommercial transporter who transports less than 50 pounds of PIMW at any one time; (3) use the U.S. Postal Service; or (4) transport the waste themselves.
Only PIMW facilities issued permits by Illinois EPA to treat, store, or transfer PIMW will be authorized to accept PIMW from off-site. Only PIMW that has been packaged and labeled in accordance with the regulations may be shipped to these facilities.
Untreated PIMW is banned from all landfills in Illinois. Once PIMW has been properly treated to eliminate its infectious potential, it is no longer PIMW (except in the case of sharps) and may be disposed of into any landfill permitted by the Illinois EPA to accept municipal waste. For sharps, both the infectious nature must be eliminated and the sharps must either be rendered unrecognizable or packaged in accordance with the regulations prior to disposal. A livestock producer who treats the PIMW on-site must certify to the transporter, if other than the generator, and certify to the landfill operator or receiving facility operator that the PIMW has been treated in accordance with 35 Ill. Adm. Code 1422 and, if applicable, with all terms and conditions specified in his operating permit. Data verifying the efficacy of the treatment unit must be made available to the receiving facility upon request of the receiving facility.
Waste incinerators require a permit from the Illinois EPA Bureau of Air. If the incinerator owner/operator accepts any waste from a person or facility off-site, then permits from the Illinois EPA Bureau of Land will be required. Incinerators must meet all testing requirements as described in the regulations, even if no Bureau of Land permit is required.
Ash resulting from the incineration of PIMW is categorized as an industrial process waste, and therefore must be managed as a special waste. Special waste requires a special waste manifest, must be transported by a permitted special waste hauler, and can only be disposed of into landfills permitted to accept special waste. Details of the management of special waste may be found in Section 3.45 of the Act or in the Illinois EPA Fact Sheet on Non-Special Waste Certification.
Autoclaves will not require a permit from Illinois EPA for the treatment of PIMW generated at the site. If the owner/operator accepts any waste from a person or facility off-site, then a permit from the Illinois EPA Bureau of Land will be required. Autoclaves must meet all testing requirements as described in 35 Ill. Adm. Code: Subtitle M, even if no Bureau of Land permit is required.
Manifests are required for the transport of PIMW (except for the exemptions described above). Livestock producers, transporters, and storage/transfer/treatment facilities are required to retain these manifests for 3 years and must make them available for inspection and copying by Illinois EPA.
A report must be filed with Illinois EPA by March 31 each year by livestock producers who treat more than 50 pounds per month of PIMW, specifying the quantities and disposition of PIMW transported, stored, treated, disposed, or transferred during the previous calendar year. Such reports must be on forms prescribed and provided by Illinois EPA.