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Biological, Pathological or Medical Waste Disposal Fact Sheet


The handling, storage, and disposal of biological, pathological and medical waste (BPMW) is regulated by several Maryland State agencies, as well as the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard and the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules. BPMW includes microbiological laboratory waste, human blood and blood-soiled articles, recombinant organisms, anatomical material, and sharps, whether contaminated or not.

Applicable University Policy

  • VI-11.00(B) - UMD Policy on Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens
  • VI-17.00(A) - UMD Policy on Biosafety

Applicable Regulations

  • COMAR 10.06.06 - Communicable Disease Prevention - Handling, Treatment, and Disposal of Special Medical Waste
  • COMAR 26.13.11 - Special Medical Wastes
  • COMAR 26.13.12 - Standards Applicable to Generators of Special Medical Wastes
  • 29 CFR 1910.1030-Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens

Summary of Requirements

BPMW must be treated in one of the following ways:

  • Incineration - Incineration is used for disposal of medical waste and by those research departments that do not have access to an autoclave. Incinerator boxes are available from the Department of Environmental Safety, Sustainability and Risk (ESSR); when full, request pickup on the ESSR website.
  • Autoclaving - Non-sharp solid waste is collected in autoclave bags (preferably not red or orange), then autoclaved for 50 minutes. Autoclaved waste should be discarded in the building dumpster.
  • Chemical disinfection - Chemical disinfection is used for decontamination of liquid waste. Add household bleach to a final concentration of 1:10, then dispose of by pouring down the sink.
  • Sharps - All sharps, whether contaminated or not, must be discarded into puncture-resistant sharps containers. Request pickup on the ESSR website.


There are no specific training requirements.


MDE has removed the manifest exception requirement


There are no specific requirements for inspections.


None required by regulation.

Written Program

The written program, Hazardous and Regulated Waste Procedures Manual and UMD Biosafety Manual are available from ESSR.

University Resources

Department of Environmental Safety, Sustainability and Risk (301) 405-3960
ESSR Fax No. (301) 314-9294
Environmental Affairs Office (301) 405-3990
ESSR Website:
UMD Waste Disposal Guidelines Calendar
Hazardous and Regulated Waste Procedures Manual

Written 5/98
Revised 4/02
Reviewed 4/05

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