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EPA Settles Environmental Violations with Three Non-Profit Hospitals Involving Medical Waste Incinerators

Release Date: 05/31/2006
Contact Information: Donna Heron, 215-814-5113

PHILADELPHIA – The mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that it has reached settlements with Charleston Area Medical Center (CAMC), Charleston, W.Va., Thomas Memorial Hospital, South Charleston, W.Va., and Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, Wilkes-Barre, Pa., for environmental violations involving hospital/medical infectious waste incinerators.

This action was taken as a result of EPA’s on-going Hospital/Medical Waste Incinerator Initiative, started in 2004 because many non-profit hospitals with incinerators were unaware of their responsibilities for the proper operation of incinerators under the Clean Air Act or had failed to implement strategies to comply with the applicable regulations.

Charleston Area Medical Center: During an inspection in 2004, EPA found that CAMC had failed to conduct two annual performance tests over a three-year period to show compliance with emission limits for particulate matter, carbon monoxide and hydrochloric acid. CAMC also failed to establish the appropriate parameter ranges to ensure that the incinerator will be able to continuously operate in compliance with its Title Voperating permit emission limits. In addition, the required annual and semi-annual reports on the incinerator operation were not submitted for 2002 and 2003.

While neither admitting nor denying liability, CAMC has agreed to a cash penalty of $11,000 to settle this matter.

Thomas Memorial Hospital: During an inspection in 2004 at Thomas Memorial Hospital (TMH), EPA found that TMH had failed to establish the appropriate parameters for operating the incinerator in order to ensure compliance with Title V operating permit emission limits. EPA also reviewed randomly selected operating data for each of the years 2002, 2003, and 2004. Based on this review, EPA found a variety of violations in the operation of the incinerator. In addition, the required annual and semi-annual reports were not submitted to 2002 through 2004.

While neither admitting nor denying liability, TMH has agreed to a cash penalty of $5,500 to settle this matter.

Wilkes-Barre General Hospital (WBGH): During an inspection in 2004 at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, EPA found that WBGH had failed to petition EPA for site-specific operating parameters (required because of the type of air pollutant control device used on the incinerator), failed to establish the operating ranges for these parameters during the initial performance test, and as a consequence failed to operate the incinerator in accordance with the established operating parameters in order to ensure that the incinerator stayed in compliance with the emission limits in EPA’s hospital/medical/infectious waste incinerator regulation. In addition, required data was not submitted in annual or semi-annual reports since 2001.

While neither admitting nor denying liability, WBGH has agreed to a cash penalty of $7,700 to settle this matter..
EPA will continue to monitor environmental compliance at other hospital/medical waste incinerators.

For more information, go to .

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