"Hazardous waste" is a term with a specific legal meaning that applies to certain materials that have been generated as wastes from activities carried out at your veterinary facility.
This section provides information on how to comply with hazardous waste regulations. The first step is to determine if the wastes you generate are hazardous. There is a logical sequence of steps that can be used for this determination.
If you generate hazardous waste, then you must follow specific rules for management and disposal of the waste. You may also have reporting and recordkeeping responsibilities, depending on which state you are located and the quantity of hazardous waste you generate.
Because hazardous waste rules can vary from state to state, a VetCA hazardous waste state locator has also been included in the section.
Finally, there is a discussion about a category of hazardous waste, termed Universal Waste, for which special rules exist to encourage recycling of common hazardous wastes such as fluorescent bulbs and batteries.
Hazardous Waste Determinations
15 Most Common Hazardous Waste Violations and Problems
Found at Hospitals
(This summary is for human hospitals, however, veterinary facilities would be expected to have similar compliance issues.)
- Improper or lack of hazardous
waste (HW) labeling (go to HW labeling).
or infrequent weekly inspections of HW storage/satellite
areas (go to for inspections
- Open containers of HW
(go to container
- Improper disposal of chemotherapy
drugs (go to hazardous waste determinations and see information
for U-list waste).
- Failure to perform or
improper hazardous waste determinations (go to hazardous waste determinations).
or inadequate HW manifests (go to hazardous
- Throwing HW down the drain.
management of mercury-containing wastes, including
but not limited to, fluorescent
light bulbs, mercury vapor lights, thermometers,
sphygmomanometer, gastric tubes, thermostats,
etc. (go to mercury in healthcare
- Improper management of
expired pharmaceuticals, paints, etc. (go
to pharmaceuticals in healthcare
- Lack of a contingency
plan (go to emergency
- Lack of or inadequate
training of employees in HW management
(go to personnel
- Failure to ensure that
HW meets Land Disposal Restrictions
(go to shipping
- Failure to upgrade/close
underground storage tanks (USTs)
by 12/22/98 (go to UST
leak detection systems.
consolidation of wastes from nearby
- Managing Hazardous
- State Hazardous Waste Regulations
- Universal Wastes
- State Universal Waste Regulations