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BMC fined for waste disposal

By Patrick G. Lee
Globe Correspondent / July 15, 2010

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The state Department of Environmental Protection fined Boston Medical Center nearly $39,000 for improperly sending hazardous medical waste to a disposal facility in Roxbury not licensed to handle such infectious waste.

Joe Ferson, a spokesman for the department, said yesterday that the incident last year was an isolated case that occurred because the hospital’s autoclave, which sterilizes medical waste before it is shredded, was broken.

BMC issued a statement yesterday saying that it is committed to appropriate and safe disposal of biological waste and that the hospital has already instituted changes, such as building a new biological waste storage area, instituting regular inspections, and retraining operating room and custodial staff.

In exchange for these changes, the state reduced the fine by nearly $13,000. The medical center has paid the remaining amount and has submitted a formal plan outlining alternative, legal waste disposal options if its normal method is unavailable, Ferson said.

In May 2009, the state’s Environmental Strike Force received a complaint about medical waste being left on Howard Street in Roxbury. The investigators used surveillance-camera footage to track down the source of the garbage, which included used blood bags and biohazardous materials, and eventually determined that BMC had sent it to a waste facility on Norfolk Street.

Patrick G. Lee can be reached at patrick.lee@globe.com.

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