Biohazardous Waste Operational Plan

Date: Nov. 29, 2019

Scope

This operational plan covers management of biohazardous waste produced as a result of University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) operations conducted on the main campus in Reno, as well as satellite operations in the Reno/Sparks area. Only biohazardous waste produced by UNR operations is treated at UNR facilities. Biohazardous waste produced by other entities (non-UNR operations) is not handled or treated by UNR.

Biohazardous Waste Streams

The following biohazardous waste steams may be produced as a result of the university operations listed below. Waste contaminated with chemotherapeutic agents generated from laboratory research activities is managed as hazardous waste per RCRA regulations.

  • Cultures and stocks of microorganisms and biologicals, and materials contaminated with these agents, from teaching, research, and diagnostic laboratories.
  • Human blood and body fluids, and materials contaminated with these fluids, from clinical facilities, research, athletics, and personnel injuries.
  • Human tissues and other anatomical wastes resulting from teaching, research, and clinical diagnostic activities.
  • Contaminated animal carcasses, body parts, animal bedding, and related wastes from laboratory and field research.
  • Biohazardous sharps produced by clinical and laboratory research activities.

Management and Treatment of Biohazardous Waste

Cultures and Stock of Microorganisms and Biologicals

Microbiological waste, to include potentially contaminated materials such as gloves, pipette tips, and absorbent work pads, is collected by laboratory workers at the site of generation in designated containers labeled with the biohazard symbol. Solid wastes contaminated with these materials are collected in autoclavable biohazardous waste bags; liquid wastes are collected in solid, leak-proof containers. The majority of microbiological waste produced is not known to be infectious to humans or other animals; however, as prudent practice all microbiological waste is sterilized prior to disposal due to possible unidentified pathogens, and to maintain consistency in the treatment of microbiological wastes.

When local biohazardous waste receptacles are filled, or a particular activity is completed, laboratory personnel remove waste from the immediate work area for treatment and disposal.

Microbiological cultures and stocks, and other potentially contaminated materials, are sterilized by autoclaving. These wastes are autoclaved for a minimum of 60 minutes at a minimum of 121 °C and 15 psi. These conditions have been shown through internal efficacy testing using Bacillus stearothermophilus spores to provide reliable sterilization of biohazardous waste. After autoclaving, waste is considered non-infectious and is disposed of as ordinary solid waste. Autoclaved waste bags should be placed in an opaque bag prior to placement in trash receptacles to avoid concerns that “biohazardous waste” (now non-infectious due to autoclaving) is being disposed of in ordinary solid waste receptacles.

Liquid cultures and stocks may also be treated by addition of bleach solution (sodium hypochlorite) at a final minimum concentration of 5000 ppm available chlorine (a 1/10 dilution of Clorox or other consumer bleach solution) for a minimum of 30 minutes. For liquid cultures or stocks that contain spore-forming pathogenic organisms, a freshly prepared 1/10 dilution of consumer bleach solution that has been acidified to a pH of approximately 7 must be used. After treatment with bleach, the culture and bleach solution is disposed of to the sanitary sewer.

All biohazardous wastes that will be treated on-site must be treated within 96 hours after being identified for treatment and disposal

Biohazardous waste that is generated in laboratories located in the Applied Research Facility which are operated by non-UNR private businesses through contractual agreement through the Nevada Center for Applied Research are picked up by a local waste contractor for treatment and disposal.

Human Blood and Body Fluids

Solid wastes contaminated with human blood or body fluids are collected in autoclavable biohazardous waste bags; liquid wastes are collected in solid, leak-proof waste containers.

Solid waste that is produced at the Student Health Center (Neil J. Redfield Building), Patient-Centered Family Medicine Clinic (Sports Medicine Center), the Family Medicine Center (Brigham Building), the Endocrinology Clinic (Center for Molecular Medicine, MOB wing), the Women’s Health Clinic (Center for Molecular Medicine, MOB wing), and the Internal Medicine Clinic (6130 Plumas Street) is picked up for disposal on a regular basis by a local biohazardous waste contractor (Waste Management).

Small volumes of solid waste are produced at the Athletics training facility (Cashell Field House), E. L. Wiegand Fitness Center, and the Lombardi Recreation Center, and is picked up as needed by a local biohazardous waste contractor (Waste Management). The contractor transports the waste to its facility where it is sterilized by autoclaving and then buried in the local landfill.

Liquid blood and body fluid waste may be disposed of directly to the sanitary sewer system. Pre-treatment with bleach solution is not required for disposal to the sanitary sewer; however, some groups choose to do this in order to reduce the risk of accidental exposure to personnel during disposal, and either procedure is acceptable.   Blood disposed of to the sanitary sewer is generally contained in laboratory-type tubes with the total volume generally less than a few hundred milliliters at a single disposal. These liquids may also be sterilized on-site using a steam autoclave (minimum of 60 minutes at a minimum of 121 °C and 15 psi), after which the waste is disposed of to the sanitary sewer or as ordinary solid waste. Secondary containers are required for transport of human blood or body fluids through public access areas (research, testing, and clinical laboratory areas are not generally considered to be general access areas). All human blood and body fluid wastes to be treated on-site must be treated within 96 hours after being identified for treatment and disposal.

On infrequent occasions, for example, when there is a large volume of fluid or a large number of containers to dispose of, human blood or body fluids or solid waste contaminated with these materials may be disposed of through a licensed biohazardous waste contractor (e.g., Waste Management). Alternatively, human blood and body fluid waste may be sent off-site through the U. S. Mail to a licensed biohazardous waste treatment facility (for example, Sharps Environmental Services Inc., Carthage, TX).

Human Cadavers and Human Anatomical Waste

The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) provides cadavers to UNR anatomy teaching programs and NSHE institutions as follows:

  • University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine:
    • 17 cadavers per year for gross anatomy laboratory
    • Up to 20 cadavers per year for surgical training program
  • UNR Biology Department: 4 cadavers per year
  • Truckee Meadows Community College: 2 cadavers per year
  • Western Nevada College: 2 cadavers per year

Cadavers are obtained through the UNR Med Anatomical Donation Program; however, cadavers can be obtained from other authorized donation programs if the need arises. The acquisition, use, and disposal of cadavers and human body parts are regulated by the Nevada State Committee on Anatomical Dissection Board. Burial transit permits and cremation certificates are required by State regulations for transport and cremation of cadavers.

Cadavers used for anatomy teaching laboratories are embalmed at a licensed facility, most commonly at the Pennington Health Sciences Building, but one of the local mortuaries listed below may also perform embalming. Cadavers used for surgical training do not generally undergo a complete embalming; however, they are flushed with a disinfecting solution to drain the blood. Cadavers are transferred to the UNR Med Anatomy lab with the burial permit, which is kept in each specific donor’s file until cremation of the body.

Disposal of cadavers and anatomical waste is coordinated by the UNR Med Anatomy Lab Manager. Cadavers used at locations outside of the UNR Med are transferred back to the UNR Med gross anatomy laboratory and then transported by a local mortuary to their facility for cremation. Cadavers and human anatomical waste from the UNR Med are picked up directly at the gross anatomy laboratory by a local mortuary and transported to their facility for cremation. Each cadaver is accompanied by its burial transit permit and cremation certificate. The following mortuary and crematorium is currently used:

  • Walton’s Funeral Home and Sierra Crematory
    875 West 2 nd Street, Reno, NV 89503

After cremation, copies of the burial transit permit and cremation certificate are maintained in each donor’s file by the UNR Med Anatomical Donation Program.

Contaminated Animal Carcasses, Body Parts, and Bedding and Related Wastes

Animal carcasses, body parts, and related wastes that are considered biohazardous may be produced by laboratory research activities at the main campus and biomedical research activities at the Main Station Field Laboratory, which is located on the east side of the intersection of Mill Street and McCarran Boulevard. Disposal of animal carcasses, body parts, and related wastes generated on the main campus is coordinated by the UNR Office of Animal Resources (OAR). The Main Station Field Laboratory is under the administration of the Nevada Agriculture Experiment Station (NAES) and disposal of biohazardous waste produced as a result of any biomedical research activities occurring at this facility is coordinated by UNR employees who work for the NAES at that location.

Campus Laboratory Research

Currently, laboratory mice and rats are the only animals used in research that may be infected with organisms that are pathogenic to humans or agricultural animals. Small volumes of tissue from cynomolgus and rhesus macaque monkeys are occasionally provided by collaborating institutions for use in laboratory research and are considered potentially infectious. Additionally, transgenic mice and rats which contain recombinant DNA, but which are not considered to be pathogenic, are generated and used in laboratory biomedical research. Mouse and rat carcasses, tissues, and body parts, and macaque monkey tissues, are placed into plastic bags labeled with the biohazard symbol and then transported to OAR facilities, which are located in the Nellor building and the Center for Molecular Medicine, where they are stored at -20 °C. These materials are picked up by an independent, licensed medical waste contractor (Heart’s Companion) and transported by their permitted and registered trucks for incineration at their Reno site (119 Bell St., Reno, NV).

Bedding and related wastes may be produced during the conduct of laboratory rodent studies within specially designated areas of controlled-access animal housing facilities located in the Nellor Building, Center for Molecular Medicine, and the Fleischmann Agriculture Building. Generally this waste is not pathogenic and is disposed of into a dumpster without treatment. Bedding from animals that were infected with a pathogenic agent is transported to an OAR facility in the either the Nellor Building or the Center for Molecular Medicine, and are sterilized by autoclaving for at least 60 minutes at 121 C. Additional animal biohazardous waste may also be generated in the Center for Molecular Medicine Building, room 314F, which is a small animal biosafety level 3 (BSL-3) laboratory; however, there is currently no animal BSL-3 work being conducted. All waste from this facility is autoclaved for at least 60 minutes at 121 C before being removed from the BSL-3 suite. After autoclaving, these materials are disposed of as ordinary solid waste.

Main Station Field Laboratory

Waste that is produced at the Main Station Field Laboratory which may be biohazardous includes medical sharps containers used in the conduct of standard agricultural practices and Nevada Department of Agriculture requirements, such as brucellosis vaccination. Sharps containers are transported to the main campus by EH&S hazardous waste technicians and stored at the Applied Research Facility Annex 2 building until they are picked up by a local waste contractor for treatment and disposal.

Potentially biohazardous materials may be generated during lambing activities. These materials primarily include personal protective equipment contaminated with birthing fluids, which will be transported to the UNR main campus by EH&S hazardous waste technicians and stored at the Applied Research Facility Annex 2 building until they are picked up by a local waste contractor for treatment and disposal.

Any biomedical research animals that are not pathogenic but which present a biosafety concern due to the presence of recombinant DNA, or which contain human cells, are picked up by an independent contractor (Heart’s Companion) and transported to their Reno site for incineration (see above). No research involving agricultural animals that contain recombinant DNA or human cells is currently being conducted.

Sharps

Sharps are collected in rigid, leak-proof containers labeled with the biohazard symbol.   In some cases sharps waste produced by campus BSL-1 and BSL-2 laboratories is autoclaved by laboratory personnel prior to pick up by the Environmental Health and Safety Department (EH&S). Such autoclaving is not required but it is suggested when it is convenient for laboratory personnel to do so in order to reduce the risk to the waste technicians. EH&S sharps handling procedures assume that these sharps have not been autoclaved prior to pick up by EH&S. The exception to this procedure is sharps waste produced by BSL-3/select agent laboratories. Sharps from these laboratories must be autoclaved by laboratory personnel upon removal from the laboratory and prior to pick up by EH&S and subsequent transfer to the waste contractor for final treatment and disposal.   

EH&S stores sharps waste at the Applied Research Facility (ARF) Annex 2 building until pick up by a local biohazardous waste contractor (Waste Management) that autoclaves the sharps and disposes of them at the local landfill. Sharps are picked up at the ARF Annex 2 facility by the biohazardous waste contractor on a monthly basis so that storage times are less than 30 days.

A local biohazardous waste contractor (Waste Management) picks up sharps and solid biohazardous waste on an as needed basis from the Endocrinology Clinic, Women’s Health Clinic, Student Health Clinic, Family Medicine Clinic, Patient-Centered Family Medicine Clinic, Athletics (Cashell Field House), and the Lombardi Recreation Center. The contractor transports the sharps to its facility where they are autoclaved and then disposed of at the local landfill.

All sharps are considered to be infectious, regardless of their source or whether or not they were autoclaved at the site of generation. The same health and safety precautions and handling and disposal procedures are applied to all sharps.

Accumulation of Biohazardous Waste

Solid biohazardous waste other than sharps is accumulated in autoclavable bags designed for biohazardous waste and labeled with the biohazard symbol. During accumulation, waste bags must be maintained in a stable and upright position, and in a manner that does not permit waste to fall out or be easily spilled. When accumulation of a particular biohazardous waste bag is completed it must be sealed to prevent spillage of the contents.

Sharps waste is accumulated in rigid, leak proof containers labeled with the biohazard symbol. In order to prevent needlesticks to personnel, sharps must not be removed from waste containers. When accumulation of a particular sharps container is completed, the opening must be closed and taped to prevent spillage of any contents.  To reduce the risk during handling of sharps containers it is suggested that containers from BSL-1 and BSL-2 laboratories be autoclaved prior to pick up by EH&S.  This autoclaving is not required but it is recommended when it is convenient for laboratory personnel to do so in order to reduce the risk to the waste technicians.

All sharps waste produced by BSL-3/select agent laboratories must be autoclaved by laboratory personnel prior to removal from the laboratory. Sharps waste from BSL-3/select agent laboratories must be effectively decontaminated by autoclaving prior to being picked up by EH&S and subsequent transfer to the waste contractor for final treatment and disposal. Until these sharps have been decontaminated by autoclaving they must be secured as select agents, to include excluding access to all personnel who are not approved for access to select agents. A select agent approved person must maintain security of the sharps until they are placed in the autoclave and the autoclave reaches proper operating temperature and pressure. If the autoclave does not maintain proper temperature and pressure throughout the run, or the run is aborted for any reason, the sharps are not considered to be sterilized and select agent security must be maintained.

Liquid biohazardous waste is accumulated in leak proof containers labeled with the biohazard symbol. Culture tubes, flasks, dishes, etc. used in laboratory procedures are not considered biohazardous waste containers unless laboratory personnel designate a particular container(s) for waste accumulation and/or treatment. Once this designation is made the container(s) must be labeled with a biohazard symbol. Labeling can also be accomplished by labeling a rack or other device used to hold the waste container(s), or by placing a biohazard symbol adjacent to the waste container(s) to clearly indicate the hazard.

Solid waste materials which contain chemotherapeutic agents are managed as chemical hazardous waste and are collected in labeled hazardous waste containers. Sharps contaminated with chemotherapeutic agents are collected in rigid, leak-proof containers that are labeled as hazardous waste in accordance with RCRA requirements.

Storage of Biohazardous Waste

All biohazardous waste, whether treated onsite by UNR personnel or transported by a contractor to an off-site treatment facility, should be sterilized as soon as practical after biohazardous waste containers are filled, or after accumulation in a specific container is completed. In all cases, regulations specify that filled biohazardous waste containers cannot be stored for more than seven calendar days before on-site treatment or pickup for off-site treatment. There are two exceptions to this requirement: 1) biohazardous waste that is stored below 32 °F can be stored for up to 30 calendar days before being treated on-site or picked up for off-site treatment, and 2) sharps waste can be stored for up to 30 calendar days before being picked up for treatment, regardless of the storage temperature.

Biohazardous waste must not be stored in the same area as other types of wastes. Areas used to store biohazardous waste must be secured to prevent access by unauthorized personnel and must be labeled with the below wording located on, or adjacent to, the exterior of entry doors.

“CAUTION – BIOHAZARDOUS WASTE STORAGE AREA – UNAUTHORIZED PERSONS KEEP OUT” and

“CUIDADO – ZONA DE RESIDUOS INFECTADOS – PROHIBIDA LA ENTRADO A PERSONAS NO AUTHORIZADA”

Labeling of Biohazardous Waste

All biohazardous waste containers must be labeled with the biohazard symbol from the time that accumulation of waste begins, until the waste is treated and it is no longer considered biohazardous. Biohazardous waste bags must display the biohazard symbol on both sides. Sharps containers must display the biohazard symbol on two sides and the top; alternatively, red-colored containers with at least a single biohazard label can also be used.

All biohazardous waste that is stored for later on-site treatment or pick up for off-site treatment must be labeled with the date that the waste went to storage.

Transport of Biohazardous Waste

Biohazardous waste that is transported consists primarily of sharps contained in sealed containers. Biohazardous waste is transported by EH&S hazardous waste technicians from accumulation points on campus (mainly laboratories) to the ARF Annex 2 facility for storage until pickup by the waste contractor. Additionally, EH&S may transport sharps from off-campus locations at the Main Station Farm. The likelihood of personnel being contaminated by sharps is expected to be low.

 In the Applied Research Facility, biohazardous waste is generated in multiple laboratories in the building and all waste is stored in room C104. EH&S hazardous waste technicians transport this waste approximately once per week to the Center for Molecular Medicine Building for autoclaving. Additionally, there may be other occasional situations where solid biohazardous waste contained in autoclavable biohazard bags is transported from the point of generation to another campus building for autoclaving. This transport would generally not involve transport on public roads. Although this waste is treated as biohazardous with regard to treatment before disposal, it generally will not be infectious since work involving known human pathogens is usually conducted in buildings where autoclaves are available.

Transport by EH&S

As described above, EH&S transports biohazardous waste from campus work locations and off-campus locations to the ARF Annex 2 facility located on the main campus for storage prior to pick up by a biohazardous waste contractor. Bagged solid waste picked up from off-campus locations may also be transported to campus buildings, such as the Howard Medical Sciences and Center for Molecular Medicine buildings for autoclaving. In these cases, generation and transport of biohazardous waste meets the criteria of the limited quantity transporter exemption. This exemption limits generation of biohazardous waste at a single work location to less than 20 pounds per week and transport at any one time to less than 20 pounds. EH&S also transports solid biohazardous waste generated in laboratories located in the Applied Research Facility to the Center for Molecular Medicine Building where it is autoclaved.

Transport Document

Transport of biohazardous waste by EH&S from campus locations or off-campus locations to the ARF Annex 2 facility requires completion of a modified transport document that includes the following information:

  1. Name of the person transporting the biohazardous waste;
  2. Total number of containers in which the waste is transported;
  3. Type of biohazardous waste;
  4. Date of transport from the site of generation to the ARF Annex 2 facility.

Transport of biohazardous waste from the ARF Annex 2 facility by a biohazardous waste contractor for treatment at their facility requires a more extensive transport document. In this case it is the responsibility of the contractor to complete the transport document and provide copies and signed originals to EH&S as described in the Records Maintenance section of this document.

Disinfection of Transport Vehicles

EH&S trucks are used to transport sharps from various accumulation points on the UNR main campus to the ARF Annex 2 building for staging and to transport solid biohazardous waste from ARF to the Center for Molecular Medicine Building for autoclaving. Sharps and small quantities of bagged solid waste may also be transported by EH&S from off-campus UNR operations located in the Reno/Sparks area. Sharps and bagged waste are placed in bus tubs as secondary containment during transport. Since the sharps containers do not contain liquid and are sealed closed, it is very unlikely that the secondary container or the transport vehicle will be contaminated by the biohazardous waste. Bagged waste is also not expected to contain liquid. If contents are released from the sharps containers or waste bags, spilled waste will be collected using forceps or tongs, or other means to avoid direct contact with hands, and placed in an appropriate waste container. Any liquid that is released should be contained in the bus tub and will be disinfected and picked up using absorbent pads. The affected bus tub will be disinfected using a bleach solution (domestic bleach diluted between 1/10 and 1/100). Personnel performing the cleanup will wear a lab coat, disposable nitrile gloves, and safety eyewear. All used personal protective equipment, absorbent pads, and other cleanup materials will be autoclaved before disposal.

Decontamination of Personnel

The affected area of personnel exposed to biohazardous waste will be decontaminated using soap and water. After decontamination the affected personnel will be transported to a medical facility for evaluation by a physician.

The highest risk of personnel contamination is from liquid biohazardous waste.  Liquid biohazardous waste accumulation is limited to laboratories and clinical facilities where handwashing sinks and emergency eyewashes and showers are readily available for use in decontamination.

Solid biohazardous waste and sharps are accumulated in laboratories, clinical facilities, and athletics facilities where handwashing sinks are available. The likelihood of personnel being contaminated by solid biohazardous waste or sharps is expected to be low. In some cases, sharps from BSL-1 and BSL-2 laboratories may be autoclaved before pick up by EH&S, which greatly reduces the risk of exposure to personnel. All sharps from BSL-3/select agent laboratories are autoclaved prior to pick up by EH&S. EH&S handling procedures always assume, however, that sharps have not been autoclaved prior to pick up by EH&S technicians.

Biohazardous Waste Management Contingency Plan

Spills or Releases

Spills or releases of infectious materials (including biohazardous wastes) must be decontaminated and cleaned up as soon as possible. Procedures for responding to a spill or release are contained in the UNR Biosafety Manual and Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control Plan. The Biosafety Manual and Exposure Control Plan are available on the EH&S web site at www.ehs.unr.edu, then choose “Policies & Manuals.”  Additionally, EH&S maintains a 24 hour emergency phone number (327-5040) and can respond to biohazardous waste emergencies where respiratory protective equipment is not required for responders. Incidents that require a higher level of personal protective equipment will be handled by the Regional Hazardous Materials Team or a biohazardous waste contractor. Building emergency evacuation drills are conducted regularly and these drills provide an opportunity to discuss emergency response issues.

Any release of biohazardous waste to the environment or confirmed infection of personnel that is believed to have resulted from UNR biohazardous waste operations will be reported to the Washoe County District Health Department within 24 hours of the release or confirmation.

Emergency or Natural Disaster that Disrupts Biohazardous Waste Treatment Service

Since UNR only treats biohazardous waste that it produces, the quantity of waste awaiting treatment at any time is relatively small. In the event of an emergency situation or natural disaster that prevents treatment of biohazardous waste, generation of biohazardous waste will be stopped and existing waste will be stored in proper containers at the point of generation or at existing storage locations.

The possible exception to this would be continued production of biomedical waste by campus clinical facilities during an emergency or natural disaster situation that interrupts service by the local biohazardous waste contractor. In this situation, biohazardous waste from these facilities will be transported to another campus building for autoclaving if available and appropriate under the circumstances. Alternatively, the biohazardous waste will be transported to another campus building for storage until the local biohazardous waste contractor is able to resume service. There are many possible storage locations that can be utilized and the actual location used will be determined at that time according to current circumstances.

Equipment Malfunction

On-site equipment used to treat biohazardous waste is limited to autoclaves. If an autoclave becomes inoperable it is repaired as soon as possible by a trained technician. Each Responsible Person listed in Appendix I is responsible for ensuring that repair records are maintained in accordance with this document. There are several autoclaves on campus that are used to treat biohazardous waste, so an alternate autoclave will be used while the inoperable autoclave is being repaired. If needed, arrangements can also be made with a local biohazardous waste contractor to treat and dispose of the waste.

Exposure Control Plan

ontrol of exposure to biohazardous wastes is covered by the UNR Biosafety Manual and the Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control Plan. These documents provide guidance on personal protective equipment to be used when handling infectious agents and biohazardous waste. Generally, personnel handling biohazardous waste wear a minimum of a lab coat, disposable gloves, and safety eyewear. Personnel who are exposed to human blood or body fluids, tissues, or cells are included in the UNR Bloodborne Pathogens Program and receive annual bloodborne pathogens training and are offered the hepatitis B vaccination.

Training of Personnel

EHS provides biosafety training that includes handling and disposal of biohazardous waste to laboratory personnel who work with biological agents, including information on proper autoclave use and recordkeeping requirements. Personnel that utilize autoclaves are provided specific training on the safe and proper use (in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions) of this equipment.   EH&S also provides bloodborne pathogens training that includes handling and disposal of biohazardous waste to personnel who are exposed to human blood, body fluids, tissues, or cells. Lastly, EH&S provides chemical hygiene training that includes information on safe handling of hazardous chemicals, and response to spills or releases.

Applicable personnel are identified by supervisors and during workplace safety assessments conducted by EH&S. The availability of these training courses is communicated to the campus community which also allows applicable personnel to self-identify. Records of these training sessions, including personnel who attended training, are maintained by EH&S.

Autoclaves Used to Treat Biohazardous Waste

See Appendix I for a list of autoclaves used to treat biohazardous waste. Ben Owens, EH&S Associate Director, should be notified if autoclaves that are used to treat biohazardous waste are added or deleted. Changes in the Responsible Person should also be communicated. EH&S will verify the information provided in Appendix I at least annually.

Visual Indicators

A visual indicator that provides evidence that adequate autoclave temperature was achieved must be included with each load of biohazardous waste that is autoclaved. Such indicators include heat sensitive tape or strips, or biohazardous waste bags that include a visual indicator integrated into the bag. If the visual indicator fails then biohazardous waste is not considered to be sterilized and must be re-autoclaved. If an autoclave fails a visual indicator test the autoclave cycle conditions (e.g., time and pressure) should be verified and corrected as needed. If an autoclave has two visual indicator failures in a row, or records indicate an increased failure rate for that specific autoclave, the autoclave should be inspected by a trained technician.

Efficacy Testing

Autoclaves used to treat biohazardous waste are tested for sterilization efficacy at least every three months using commercially available Bacillus stearothermophilus spore ampoules which contain a suspension of viable spores and are designed for this purpose. The spore ampoules will be placed inside a representative biohazardous waste load or a non-biohazardous, surrogate waste load. After the autoclave cycle is completed the spore ampoule is retrieved and incubated with a control ampoule at the recommended growth temperature (per the spore ampoule manufacturer’s directions). The ampoules contain a pH indicator which changes color if growth occurs, allowing easy visual detection of growth. Lack of growth indicates that the autoclave conditions were sufficient to inactivate the heat-resistant spores, and thus provides good assurance that the autoclave conditions are sufficient to kill other more heat sensitive microbial agents.

If an autoclave fails an efficacy test, the autoclave cycle conditions should be verified and corrected as needed, and a second efficacy test should be repeated as soon as possible. Any waste that was autoclaved during the failed test is not considered to be sterilized and must be re-autoclaved. The specific autoclave that failed the test cannot be used to treat biohazardous waste until efficacy testing demonstrates adequate autoclave conditions are met. If an autoclave fails two efficacy tests in a row, or test records show an increased failure rate for that specific autoclave, the autoclave should be inspected by a trained technician.

In addition to quarterly efficacy testing requirements, the performance of autoclaves used to treat biohazardous waste must be verified through efficacy testing at the following times:

  1. Prior to initial use to treat biohazardous waste (whether unit is new, reconditioned, or pre-existing)
  2. Upon relocation of pre-existing, previously tested autoclaves
  3. After maintenance, repair, or calibration that has potential to negatively affect autoclave performance

Each Responsible Person listed in Appendix I is responsible for ensuring that efficacy testing of autoclaves used to treat biohazardous waste is conducted as specified in this document. The PI or responsible person can delegate the task of conducting the efficacy testing to a qualified person.

Records Maintenance

Off-Site Treatment of Biohazardous Waste

A transport document is required that records both the movement of the waste from the generator to a treatment facility, and the treatment/disposal method used for the waste. The waste transporter is responsible for generating this document and must provide the waste generator with a copy of the transfer document upon initial pickup. Within 30 calendar days after treatment of the waste, the treatment facility must return the original transfer document to the waste generator with authorized signature indicating that the waste has been treated to render it non-biohazardous or disposed of in an approved manner. Both the copy of the transport document provided by the transporter upon initial pickup and the original document returned by the waste treatment facility after treatment must be maintained for a minimum of one year.

Each UNR administrative unit that transfers biohazardous waste directly to a transporter for off-site treatment without intermediate possession and storage by EH&S is responsible for maintaining transport documents for all waste transferred and treated in this manner.

EH&S is responsible for maintaining transport documents for all biohazardous waste for which it coordinates treatment and disposal. Generally, this will apply only to sharps picked up by EH&S from UNR workplaces and stored at the by ARF Annex facility prior to transfer to the biohazardous waste contractor.

Autoclave Records

Each Responsible Person listed in Appendix I is responsible for ensuring that autoclave records are maintained as specified in this document; however, the task of maintaining the records can be delegated to a qualified person.

The following records must be maintained for each autoclave used to treat biohazardous waste for a minimum of three years:

  1. Each autoclave cycle used to treat biohazardous waste, to include the following:
    1. date and time
    2. autoclave temperature and pressure
    3. general description of waste load, including waste containers
    4. quantity of biohazardous waste
    5. autoclave run time
    6. results of visual indicators (e.g., heat sensitive tape) used to verify adequate autoclave conditions
  2. All autoclave maintenance, calibration, and repair
  3. All autoclave efficacy tests and results

Contact Information Regarding UNR Biohazardous Waste

General Biohazardous Waste Issues          

Ben Owens
Associate Director
Applied Research Facility, MS 328
Email: bowens@unr.edu
Phone: (775) 327-5196
Fax: (775) 784-4553                                                  

Biohazardous Waste Transport and Records

Chad Stephens
Manager, Regulated Waste Programs
Applied Research Facility, MS 328
Email: chadstephens@unr.edu
Phone: (775) 784-1987
Fax: (775) 784-4553

Biohazardous Waste Handling and Storage Areas

See Appendix II for the locations of autoclaves used to treat biohazardous waste, and locations where biohazardous waste is stored prior to pick up by a biohazardous waste contractor (campus locations only).

Appendix I

Autoclaves Used to Treat Biohazardous Waste

  1. Nellor Biomedical Sciences Building, Room 202
    For use by Laboratory Animal Medicine
    Responsible Person – Benjamin Weigler
    Steris E3043
    Steris E3048

  2. Howard Medical Sciences Building, Room 201
    For general use by research labs
    Responsible Person – Elizabeth Brown
    Steris Amsco 250
    3 autoclave units

  3. Nevada State Public Health Laboratory, Room 128
    For use by public health lab
    Responsible Person – Stephanie Van Hooser
    Steris Amsco 250LS, Model 20VS
    2 autoclave units

  4. Mackay Science Building, Room 311
    Biochemistry Dept. use for molecular biology teaching lab
    Responsible Persons – Rebecca Young
    Consolidated Stills Steam Sterilizer

  5. Fleischmann Agriculture Building
    Room 313
    For general use by research labs
    Responsible Person – Lou Christensen
    Steris SG-120
    Steris SV-120

  6. Davidson Math and Science Center, Room 205
    Biology Dept. use for microbiology teaching lab
    Responsible Person – Christina Hartman
    Steris Amsco LV-250

  7. Center for Molecular Medicine
    Rooms 210 and 310
    For general use by research labs
    Responsible Person – Cyprian Rossetto
    Steris Amsco LV-250, two units in room 210 and two units in 310

    Room 314A
    For use by research lab
    Responsible Person – Peter Thorkildson
    Steris Amsco LV-250

    Room 112
    For use by Office of Animal Resources personnel
    Responsible Person - Ben Weigler
    Steris Finn Aqua bulk sterilizer model N-DP-B-LSR-DP
    Amsco Century model 1263

    MOB Wing, Room 324 (internal to room 315)
    For use by research lab
    Responsible Person – Kris Kruse
    Tomy model ES-315

  8. Pennington Health Sciences, Room 239
    School of Medicine use for medical student microbiology teaching lab
    Responsible Person – Ruth Gault
    Steris Amsco LV-250

  9. Harry Reid Engineering Laboratory, Room 301E
    For use by research lab
    Responsible Person – Veronica Edirveerasingam
    Market Forge Sterilmatic, Model STM-EL

  10. Chemistry Building, Room 324
    For use by research lab
    Responsible Person – Yiftah Tal-Gan
    Tuttnauer, Model 3870E
    Tuttnauer, Model 3870M

  11. Scrugham Engineering and Mines, Room 348
    For use by research and teaching labs
    Responsible Person – Qingsu Cheng
    Tuttnauer, Model ValueKlave

  12. Valley Road Greenhouse (located on Valley Road), room 128
    For use by research groups
    Responsible Person – Patricia Santos
    Hirayama, HV-110

  13. Agriculture Education (located on Valley Road), room 212
    For use by research lab
    Responsible Person – Christie Howard
    VWR, AccuSterilizer AS12P

  14. Paul Laxalt Mineral Research, Room 483
    For use by research lab
    Responsible Person – Sage Hiibel
    Tuttnauer, Model EZ10

Appendix II

Campus Biohazardous Waste Autoclaves and Storage Areas

Autoclave Locations

Nellor Biomedical Sciences
Howard Medical Sciences
NV State Public Health Lab
Mackey Science
Fleischmann Agriculture
Davidson Math and Science
Center for Molecular Medicine
Harry Reid Engineering Laboratory
Pennington Health Sciences
Chemistry Building
Scrugham Engineering and Mines
Agricultural Education
Valley Road Greenhouse Complex
Paul Laxalt Mineral Research

Storage Locations (prior to pick up)

Student Health Clinic
Family Medicine Clinic
Cashell Field House
Lombardi Recreation Center
Applied Research Facility
Applied Research Facility Annex #2
Sports Medicine Complex
Endocrinology Clinic/Women’s Health Clinic (CMM)
E. L. Wiegand Fitness Center
Internal medicine Clinic (6130 Plumas)