Every state has differing disposal laws for medical waste, and South Carolina waste management is no exception. There are overarching federal laws that apply to any manufacturer, medical facility, or producer of various waste streams, but those are not the only laws that need to be acknowledged and followed. The state-specific laws are just as important and relevant, and your medical facility is as liable to face fines or other consequences if you fail to follow the letter of state laws as if you fail to follow federal laws.
Medical Waste Disposal: What Your South Carolina Waste Management Plan Should Include
Acknowledge the Existence of Federal and State Laws for Medical Waste Disposal
The first part of any good waste management plan is that crucial step of acknowledging that both federal laws and state laws exist, as they relate to your waste disposal. Your medical facility is, therefore, obligated to comply with both sets of laws.
When one set of laws is stricter than the other, your facility must comply with the more stringent of the two. In most cases, state laws tend to be more demanding than the overarching federal regulations, and that certainly holds true for South Carolina.
If you operate in that state, you must also realize that state laws not only vary from the federal rules but from other states as well. Therefore, North Carolina laws can be totally different than South Carolina’s, and both those can differ from Georgia waste management regulations.
Register with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC)
If you produce any kind of infectious material, you need to register through South Carolina’s DHEC. This alerts the governing body that you will be producing this kind of waste at your site, and there are also associated fees according to how much of that waste you will be generating per month.
- Small quantity generator (less than 50 pounds per month): no fee
- Large quantity generator (50 to 999 pounds per month): $150 (annually)
- Extra-large quantity generator (1,000 pounds or more per moth): $600 (annually)
The number you’re then assigned specifies your location as the site of waste generation, and this number is required on any container that comes from that location. This label will also include information such as the name of your facility to aid identification should an issue arise.
South Carolina Waste Management Plans: How to Properly Label Boxes of Waste
In South Carolina, there are some specific rules related to labeling the actual boxes of waste generated. In states such as Georgia, you are only required to list the number of boxes of waste generated. In South Carolina, though, you must also list the weight of each box before it’s loaded on the truck for transport.
Among other details, the manifest should include that waste generator number, how many boxes were picked up, and the individual and cumulative weight of the boxes.
How to Avoid Fines by Working with a Medical Waste Disposal Company
One of the biggest keys to successful SC waste management is working with reliable, professional waste management companies. Just as you want a strong paper trail to fall back on should you be audited by the IRS, you want a similarly thorough paper trail for all your medical waste.
This paperwork documents that you are in fact following the letter of the law and can prove it should you be audited or inspected.
Remember, in the medical waste disposal industry, you are still ultimately responsible for your generated waste—even if you’re working with a third party. Make sure, therefore, that this third party is knowledgeable about South Carolina’s regulations specifically (and federal regulations generally).
Good medical waste disposal companies know and follow every rule to the letter, and this can save you from having to pay fines for noncompliance.
Some examples of those rules include the following:
- Documentation must include details such as the date the waste was treated, the facility where it was treated, and the actual person who handled the treatment.
- Documentation must be returned to you (the generator) within fifty days of medical waste pick up.
- Once a box is sealed, it must be picked up within fourteen days if not refrigerated and thirty days if refrigerated. Therefore, medical waste management companies will often advise their clients not to seal boxes themselves because the clock starts ticking from the moment that box of waste is sealed. (If an inspector sees sealed boxes lying around your facility, that could be a red flag that you’re out of compliance.)
For more specific information about medical waste management in South Carolina or general information about best waste disposal practices, please feel free to contact a representative of MCF Environmental Services, a waste management Atlanta company.