JUNE 2008

Stericycle fined $65,500 for infectious waste violations

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has fined Stericycle Inc., of Bannockburn, Illinois, $65,500 for infectious waste shipping manifest violations that occurred during the past two years at clinics owned by Cancer Care of Central Pennsylvania in Selinsgrove, Lewisburg and Elysburg.

A shipping manifest is a detailed list of the type and quantity of infectious waste that is transported.

Infectious waste is municipal waste that is generated by diagnosing medical conditions, treating humans or animals, or producing biological materials. It can include cultures and stocks, pathological waste, human blood and body fluids.

“DEP is disappointed with the continued non-compliance by Stericycle, especially since the company paid a $224,765 fine for similar violations in 2004,” said DEP Northcentral regional director Robert Yowell.

An inspection in March 2007 at the Cancer Care of Central Pennsylvania’s Elysburg Clinic showed a recent infectious waste manifest was dated November 22, 2006, a day the clinic was closed.

DEP later determined that Stericycle had advised an employee at the clinic to leave the infectious waste storage area unlocked so that it could pick up infectious waste for shipment.

The Elysburg clinic would either provide pre-signed manifests at the clinic without filling out the container type or number, or the Stericycle driver would have the pre-signed manifest in their possession and would fill out the container type and number when it was picked up.

A subsequent investigation determined that this illegal activity had occurred at least 13 times. Accepting pre-signed manifests is a violation of the Pennsylvania Solid Waste Management Act and DEP’s municipal waste regulations.

DEP fined Cancer Care of Central Pennsylvania, headquartered in Selinsgrove, Snyder County, $3,338 last July for providing the pre-signed manifests to Stericycle, and other related violations.

The $65,500 fine paid by Stericycle was deposited in the Solid Waste Abatement Fund, which finances cleanups across the commonwealth.