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Ebola Waste Permits Granted to Five Companies

Medical wasteVeolia and Advanced Environmental Options are among five companies that have received “non-site-specific” special permits for handling Ebola waste, according to Reuters.

The other special permits have been issued to Stericycle, Triumvirate Environmental and Smith Systems Transportation, according to a spokeswoman for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

Under the permits, the five companies are not limited as to where they can pick up Ebola-related waste or dispose of it.

Veolia’s permit is listed on the pipeline and hazardous materials unit website and is good until March 31, 2015.

Dana West of Advanced Environmental Options confirmed that her company has received a nationwide permit for handling Ebola waste, valid until March 31. The permit can be extended for up to two years.

AEO has had two training sessions for employees on treating Ebola waste. It must be disinfected, put in a red “bio bag,” disinfected, then, in another bag, disinfected, then put in a 55-gallon watertight drum containing disinfectant that is sealed and, once again, disinfected. The waste must then be incinerated.

West said employees have been trained on what equipment to wear and the company has experience handling “Category A” waste, as the Transportation Department classifies Ebola.

None of the other four companies responded to a request from Reuters for comment.

Anne Germain of the National Waste & Recycling Association, an industry group, said that although many of its members have not handled Category A waste before, they are familiar with federal guidelines for handling it.

Based on US hospital experiences to date, one Ebola patient will likely generate eight 55-gallon barrels of medical waste per day, making storage, transportation, and disposal of the waste a major challenge for hospitals, according to the California Hospital Association.

Photo Credit: Medical Waste via Shutterstock

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