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Illinois Biohazard Waste Storage and Transfer Guide

June 3, 2021

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Illinois Biohazard Waste Storage and Transfer Guide

To ensure the protection of employees, patients, and the environment, the State of Illinois EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has very specific guidelines and requirements for the storage and transfer of biohazard waste.  The rules may differ depending upon the type of generator and the volume of waste. Biohazard waste is also referred to as infectious waste or PIMW (potentially infectious waste) and can include but is not limited to items such as body fluids, blood, sharps, animal waste, isolation waste, and human cells that can contain or potentially contain infectious agents or other materials that are considered to be a threat to public health or the environment.

Professional waste disposal companies such as Healthcare Waste Management are knowledgeable of and comply with all Illinois EPA guidelines for the storage, transport, and destruction of biohazard waste.

Generator Types:

Generators are those organizations that have a facility involved in generating the biohazard waste. The State of Illinois EPA has rules for each type of generator and knowing which type of generator you are assists with compliance. Generator designation is based on the volume of hazardous waste, including biohazard waste created on a monthly basis:

Generator Requirements:

Due to the volume, all SQGs and LQGs are required to use a Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest or can hire an Illinois-licensed and professional medical waste disposal company such as Healthcare Waste Management that will keep track of all biohazard waste from the point of pickup to final disposal.

SQGs must store all hazardous waste, including biohazard waste in FDA-cleared containers or drums. The waste cannot be stored on the property for more than 180 days, however if it is to be transported to locations for destruction that are over 200 miles from the business, the waste is allowed to be stored on the property for up to 270 days.  SQGs cannot accumulate more than 13,200 lbs (6,000 kg) of hazardous waste on their property at any time. All SQG’s are required to register with the Illinois EPA using the form: Notification of Hazardous Waste Activity which is supplied by the Office of Small Business. All hazardous waste is required to be labeled and packaged correctly prior to transport. SQGs can contract with a State of Illinois-licensed hazardous waste disposal company to transport the waste to a destruction facility. All hazardous waste manifests and/or agreements with a licensed disposal company must be kept at the generator business for a period of three years.

LQGs have an extensive list of additional requirements that involve compliance. The Office of Small Business has a complete list that apply to LQGs.

CESQGs must identify all of the hazardous waste that is generate and must not accumulate over 2,000 lbs (1,000 kg) of hazardous waste at their facility at any time. In the case that they accumulate more than 220 lbs of “special waste,” CESQGs are required to use a hazardous waste manifest. All hazardous waste must be in approved containers/drums. CESQGs can hire an Illinois-licensed special waste hauler to transport the hazardous waste to a facility approved for destruction.

Biohazard Waste Container Requirements:

The State of Illinois requires that all biohazard waste must comply with the following hazardous waste container requirements:

All hazardous waste, including biohazard waste that will be shipped off-site (with exception to oversized hazardous waste) must be placed in containers that are: sturdy/rigid, leak-resistant, strong enough to prevent bursting or tearing under normal handling and transport conditions, impervious to moisture, and can be sealed to prevent leakage during transport processes. Sharps are defined as any item that can pierce the skin and contains or potentially contains a transmittable disease. Sharps must be placed in puncture-resistant containers. Oversized hazardous waste must be packaged so that contact with the public and transport workers is minimized. The State of Illinois EPA does not allow sharps to be packaged with oversized hazardous waste.

Labeling of the hazardous waste containers of biohazard waste is very specific for the waste that is to be transported off-site. The generator is required to mark on two exterior opposite sides of the containers in lettering that is legible and can be read at a minimum of feet in distance:

The generator is responsible for securing a water-resistant tag or label to each container and to have the following written in indelible ink: The name, address, and phone number of the generator as well as any 24-hour phone number when available.

State of Illinois-licensed transporters are required to affix a label to each container that includes: the transporter’s name, permit number, address, phone number, and any 24-hour phone number when available. For each container the transporter must include the date when the container left the site of the generator, or a unique ID number that relates to that information. In the case that there are multiple transporters, each transporter must label the hazardous waste container in the same manner making sure that tags do not obscure or cover any of the previous package information.

When there are inner bags or packages they must be marked with the word “BIOHAZARD,” the word “SHARPS” (if they contain sharps), and have the International Biohazard Symbol attached, affixed or as part of the bag or package.

Storage of Biohazard Waste

In addition to the information previously listed, any organization that stores biohazard waste prior to treatment on their site or for transport off-site for disposal, whether they are permitted or un-permitted, must follow the following compliance rules:

Additional requirements for facilities that are required to have a transfer/storage permit must:

Contingency Plans and Records:

All generators are required to have contingency plans and maintain records at the generator storage location(s).

Transporting Biohazard/Hazardous Materials

All professional companies such as Healthcare Waste Management that are certified to haul hazardous/biohazardous materials are required to have:

Individuals that transport biohazard/hazardous materials without a hauling permit can do so with exemption to hauler rules if they have a manifest and:

Healthcare Waste Management

As a State of Illinois licensed and permitted medical waste disposal company, HWM is knowledgeable of all state laws, rules, and guidelines. HWM brings a team of professionals to each of our clients to ensure that all actions involve complete compliance. HWM owns and operates all of our vehicles as well as the destruction facilities. All individuals that work for our company are employed by HWM.

HWM works with our clients to assist as consultants in reviewing the various laws, recommends changes so that their organization is safe and offers OSHA-approved online training for their employees.

Our team coordinates with customers for the most convenient pickup schedules, offers FDA-recommended containers, and supplies each client with proof of destruction that is required by the State of Illinois EPA. We work together to offer peace of mind in knowing that compliance is a priority.

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