New Jersey Strengthens Proscription on Medical Waste Dumping

November 26, 2012
Diana A. Silva
MGKF News Flash

On November 19, 2012, Governor Christie signed legislation [P.L.2012, c.65] that amends the Comprehensive Regulated Medical Waste Management Act, N.J.S.A. 13:1E-48.1 ("Medical Waste Act"), to add health care professionals to the statute's liability framework and additional penalties for medical waste generators, facilities, and transporters. The amendments, which passed unanimously in both the New Jersey Assembly and Senate, were enacted in response to a series of 2008 beach closures caused by a dentist illegally dumping medical waste off his boat near Avalon, NJ, which later washed ashore.

The Medical Waste Act, imposes strict, joint and several liability on transporters, solid waste facilities, generators, and health care professionals for violations that lead to the discharge of regulated medical wastes into the waters or onto the land in New Jersey. The statute defines generators to include all types of medical facilities that generate medical waste, including hospitals, doctors' and dentists' offices, nursing homes, veterinary clinics, and medical research laboratories.

As amended, the statute now also includes additional consequences for the "willful illegal or improper" disposal of regulated medical wastes. Beyond monetary penalties, solid waste facilities, transporters, and generators who violate the Medical Waste Act may face suspension or revocation of their state registrations and operational licenses upon a hearing before the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. Further, in an effort to deter the type of illicit conduct that caused the 2008 beach closures, health care professionals may face suspension or revocation of their professional licenses or authorizations to practice within the state of New Jersey if they violate the Medical Waste Act.

For more information, please contact Diana Silva (484-430-2347 or dsilva@mgfklaw.com)