Failure to comply with RCRA while disposing of waste could prove costly
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August 1, 2018
Until about a decade ago, inspectors from the federal EPA and comparable state agencies did not venture onto healthcare campuses very often, said Darrell J. Oman, program manager of consulting services for Stericycle Environmental Solutions.
That changed, he said, once the EPA “looked at revisiting the pharmaceutical hazardous waste world” and saw that many healthcare facilities were not fully complying with the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which has been in effect since the 1970s.
“They started asking questions of [hazardous waste] generators and vendors like us about what the issues were. And I think the agency realized healthcare in general was probably not managing all their waste streams correctly,” Oman said in November 2017 while cohosting an HCPro webinar on RCRA compliance. “So I think that was an awakening for them.”
Developed by the EPA and passed into law in 1976, RCRA was created, McFarlane said, to protect human health and the environment by stopping open dumping and preventing hazardous waste from being buried in landfills and seeping into groundwater. Also aiming to eliminate waste, RCRA ushered in the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” era.