The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) issued a June 21st news release stating that it had assessed a $451,000 penalty for alleged violations by twelve UPMC hospitals.

The penalty was assessed for alleged violations of the Pennsylvania Solid Waste Management Act.

DEP alleges that a two-year investigation determined that untreated regulated medical waste was transported to a waste management Monroeville, Pennsylvania landfill. The landfill operators are stated to have notified DEP of the mixture of medical waste with trash in municipal waste systems from various UPMC facilities. DEP responded by visiting:

. . . the landfill and screens shipments as they arrive from several medical facilities in the region, including two hospitals in the Allegheny Health Network (“AHN”) Inspectors observed the incoming municipal waste included medical waste such as bloody dressings, body fluids and sharps (needles). A contractor hired by the hospitals removed the medical waste from the landfill and disposed of it in an authorized disposal facility.

Also referenced are alleged violations determined by inspections involving improper labeling, storage and handling regulated medical waste.

Both UPMC and AHN are stated to have updated their policies and training.

A copy of the news release can be downloaded here.