On-site sterilization (autoclave)
If you have access to an autoclave, you can treat and dispose of biohazardous waste yourself. Steam sterilization with an autoclave effectively inactivates most infectious agents. Seattle-King County regulations apply to autoclaves that treat biohazardous waste. All autoclave operators must be trained on safety information and site-specific procedures. Watch Arizona State University's excellent autoclave training video. Then use the autoclave tools developed by EH&S to keep you safe and compliant:
The only integrators approved for use by the Seattle-King County Health Department are 3M Comply Thermalog or Thermalog-S, 3M Comply SteriGage, and Steriscan. You can purchase these integrators from Fisher Scientific, Health Sciences Laboratory Services and other lab supply vendors.
Autoclave cost centers
Depending on your location, you can pay an autoclave cost center to treat and dispose of biohazardous waste. Autoclave cost centers charge a fee for autoclaving and disposal of waste. Each center has its own rules and procedures. Contact them directly for more information. Autoclave cost centers include:
If you do not have access to an on-site autoclave or an autoclave cost center, biohazardous waste can be collected by a UW waste contractor for off-site treatment and disposal. EH&S Shipping Regulated Medical Waste Training is required for all personnel who will package and ship waste. Contact Laboratory Services in Health Sciences Academic Services and Facilities to set up an account with a UW waste contractor.
Shipping for off-site treatment and disposal is required for some types of waste, such as trace chemo waste, certain pathological waste, and biosafety level 3 (BSL-3) animal carcasses, tissues and bedding. These wastes require incineration prior to disposal.
Liquid biohazardous waste
Liquid biohazardous waste must be treated before disposal via sanitary sewer and cannot be disposed of as solid waste. Use the following protocol to treat any free-flowing liquid biohazardous waste:
- Collect in leak-proof, rigid containers labelled with a biohazard symbol.
- If transporting, close and seal containers, and place in a leak-proof secondary container.
- Add chlorine bleach to equal a final concentration of 10 percent bleach.
- Let the solution sit for at least 30 minutes before disposing via the sewer.
If liquid waste volumes equal or exceed 10 liters, contact EH&S at 206.221.7770.
Incineration or cremation is required for human pathological waste and nonhuman primate carcasses and body parts. Make disposal arrangements before obtaining human or nonhuman primate pathological samples. Do not dispose of pathological waste with other biohazardous wastes.
- For human pathological waste, contact the Department of Biological Structure at 206-685-2274.
- For nonhuman primate pathological waste, contact the Washington National Primate Research Center (WaNPRC) at 206-543-8686.
- For extracted teeth, arrange for off-site incineration. If extracted teeth contain amalgam, contact EH&S at 206-616-5835 to arrange for off-site treatment.