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Medical Waste Incinerators



    
    Sorry I don't have a study to support the concept, but I was aware 
    of a hospital that started an intensive battery recycling program 
    to minimize mercury (and other RCRA heavy metal) contamination in 
    incinerator emissions (and ash waste).  I was told that batteries 
    add quite a bit to hospital waste.  I would also guess that 
    alternate methods for managing spent/out-dated medications may 
    take a load off an incinerator (insure proper rotation of stock, 
    return to the manufacturer if possible, minimize free samples from 
    vendors(inventory control), etc.).
    
    You mentioned "medical waste".  I wondered if the incinerator is 
    burning "infectious waste" in addition to "chemotheraputic waste", 
    in addition to municipal waste (routine trash)?  Diverting a 
    chemotheraputic waste stream (for disposal at an off-site 
    facility) may improve emission/ash quality.  If the incinerator is 
    dedicated to "infectious waste" (facility trash is handled by the 
    local hauler), a program that educates staff on what is red-bag 
    waste and what is not may be helpful.  It is realized that 
    hospitals must error on the side of caution, but I have observed 
    many hospitals managing non-infectious waste as infectious at 
    greatly increased expense.  Pending the definition of "infectious 
    waste" in your state, there may be some manuvering room.
    
    Sometimes hospitals manage infectious office waste (generally 
    smaller amounts) from doctors working at the facility.  This may 
    be another area to watch for incoming sources of heavy metal 
    contamination.
    
    Ric
    illig.richard@a1.dep.state.pa.us