Background Image for Header:
Chapter 5: Biohazard Waste
West Virginia University has specific procedures developed for the safe collection, storage, transportation, and disposal of biohazard waste. The procedures are compliant with West Virginia’s Infectious Medical Waste Rule (64 CSR 56).1. DEFINITIONS: 1.1. Biohazards: Any biological agent that has the potential to cause harm to people, animals, plants, or the environment. Also referred to as Infectious Materials. 1.2. Biohazardous Waste: also called infectious waste, is waste contaminated with potentially infectious materials or biohazards. This includes some types of lab and biomedical waste. 1.3. Infectious Materials: See Biohazards. 1.4. Infectious Medical Waste: As defined by the West Virginia Infectious Medical Waste Rule (64 CSR 56), medical waste which is capable of producing an infectious disease. Medical waste shall be considered capable of producing an infectious disease if it has been, or is likely to have been, contaminated by an organism likely to be pathogenic to healthy humans, if such organism is not routinely and freely available in the community, and such organism has a significant probability of being present in sufficient quantities and with sufficient virulence to transmit disease. Includes the following materials: .
- Cultures and stock of microorganisms (Risk group 2 and higher)
- Human Blood and tissue samples (including cell lines)
- Recombinant nucleic acids requiring BSL2 or higher containment (including transgenic animals)
- Unfixed pathological wastes
- Contaminated animal carcasses, body parts, bedding and related wastes
- hypodermic syringes
- razor blades
- suture needles
- lancets (fingerstick devices)
- broken glass
- glass pipettes
- IV catheters
- All sharps must be placed in a biohazard sharps container.
- Biohazard sharps container must be an approved, puncture-resistant sharps container bearing the universal biohazard symbol.
- Some examples of approved sharps containers include:
- Sharps containers must be kept in the immediate vicinity of the sharps usage.
- Syringes and needles must not be recapped prior to placing in sharps container.
- Sharps must be placed sharp-end first into the container so no sharps are sticking towards the opening.
- Sharps containers must not be overfilled.
- Non-sharp waste (wrappers, paper towels, gloves, etc.) should not be placed in the sharps container.
- Once filled, close the lid on the sharps container, apply tape over the lid area, and place into solid biohazard waste container.
- Sharps containers must never be emptied and reused.
- Culture plates
- Human-derived solid material (tissue, bone, tumor, etc.)
- Closed tubes or vials; with or without small amounts of liquid waste (less than approximately 15ml)
- Gloves, disposable gowns, or other PPE
- Paper towel or other material used to clean up infectious materials
- Risk Group 2 or higher bacteria and viruses
- Human blood or tissue samples
- Recombinant DNA requiring BSL2 or higher containment (Including transgenic animals)
- Risk Group 1 bacteria and viruses
- Human and mammalian cell lines
- Recombinant DNA requiring BSL1 containment (Including transgenic plants and animals)
- Genetically modified or wild type plants/fungi requiring BSL2 containment but do not cause disease in healthy humans.
- Non-human blood/tissue samples handled at BSL1
- Solid biohazard waste must be collected in a red biohazard bag placed in a Stericycle box.
- The box must be denoted with the universal biohazard symbol.
- An example of a properly setup collection station is below. (The lid and tote dolly are optional.
Collection for In-House Autoclaving
- Solid biohazard waste for autoclaving must be collected and stored in an orange biohazard waste bag.
- Orange bags are required per 64 CSR 56, WV Infectious Medical Waste Rule.
- Orange biohazard bags should be kept within a biohazard waste container (see examples below), preferably with a foot operated, self-closing lid.
Solid Biohazard Waste Treatment and Disposal Outside Disposal (preferred method): For Infectious Medical Waste:
- Waste container boxes must not be overfilled.
- Only fill until 3/4ths full
- Box weight must not exceed 50 lbs.
- Once filled, tie the red bag shut and tape the box closed.
- At Health Sciences Center: Contact Facilities Management (x34115) to schedule either routine weekly pickup, or a one-time pickup.
- HSC pickup typically occurs Tuesday morning.
- All other campus locations: Contact the Biosafety Officer or your Chemical Hygiene Officer for disposal guidance.
- The autoclave must be operated at or above the following approved temperature, pressure, and time settings: (Additional settings may be used, but the ability to sterilize must be verified and documented.)
||Pressure (psi)||Time (minutes)|
- Each Load must have a piece of temperature sensitive tape attached. At the end of the cycle if the tape has not changed color, this load has not been sterilized and needs re-run. If the second cycle fails to change the color of the tape, the autoclave will need to be examined for problems.
- Bags must be loosely closed with a knot or twist tie. Bags should not be closed tightly or opened completely.
- A log book must be used to document the following information for each load:
- Date, time, person operating the autoclave
- Type and amount of waste (waste going to the landfill after treatment must list pre-treatment weight)
- Post-treatment result from the temperature-sensitive tape
- Dates and results of spore testing
- For disposal into a sanitary landfill, the autoclaved biohazard bag should be weighed and placed inside a black trash bag. A label (at least 3” x 5”) should be attached to each treated bag listing:
- Name, address, telephone, and fax numbers of the facility
- Weight of the treated noninfectious medical waste
- The type of treatment process that was used to render the waste non-infectious
- A signed and dated certification which states: “I hereby certify under penalty of law that this waste has been rendered noninfectious in accordance with procedures required by the West Virginia Infectious Medical Waste Rule, 64 CSR 56.”
- For Low-Risk Biohazardous Material it is not necessary to weigh the waste or label it after completion of autoclaving.
- Liquid waste must be collected and stored in a suitable container with lid.
- The lid must be kept closed when not in use.
- The container must be labeled appropriately and include:
- Waste type (hazardous, special, non-hazardous)
- Specific components of waste (culture media, broth name, chemicals, etc.)
- Verify that the composition of the liquid waste is compatible with the autoclave and will not corrode the equipment or contains hazardous chemicals. Never autoclave liquid waste containing bleach.
- Chemical Inactivation
- Treat the liquid biohazard waste with household bleach at a 1:10 (v/v) dilution of bleach to liquid waste.
- A minimum of 30 minutes of contact time with the bleach is required.
- Non-hazardous waste may be disposed of down the drain.
- Hazardous waste, or other waste types, must be disposed of through the appropriate waste stream.
Return to Table of Contents
Revision Control Table