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Medical Waste Program

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medical waste container

The County of San Diego, Department of Environmental Health, Hazardous Materials Division (HMD) issues permits and inspects facilities that handle or store hazardous materials, generate hazardous waste, generate medical waste, and/or operate underground storage tanks. Starting January 1, 2013 all Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA) regulated businesses are required by law (Assembly Bill 2286) to submit business information electronically through the California Environmental Reporting System (CERS). This includes information related to your Unified Program Facility Permit (UPFP) required for the generation of medical wastes.  As a courtesy, HMD pre-populated CERS with existing facility information for UPFP holders. This information is now available through the CERS Business Portal

ATTENTION: All new and existing business owners or operators requiring a Unified Program Facility Permit will need to request access to their CERS facility information. To gain access please complete, sign, and submit the CERS Access/I.D. Request Form to the Hazardous Materials Duty Desk by e-mail: or by fax: (858) 505-6700 or by mail to: County of San Diego, Hazardous Materials Division, P.O. Box 129261, San Diego, CA 92112-9261.

The video below will help existing medical waste facilities through this process. If it's blurry, click the gear icon at the bottom of the player and increase to highest quality.


This page intends to provide information regarding medical waste inspections conducted by this Department. It is for information purposes only, and is designed to briefly explain the main issues a typical inspection will address when we visit your site. Compliance inspections are conducted on a routine basis and focus on five general areas:

Site Inspection: The walk-through of the facility is performed to observe:

  • The areas where medical waste is generated and managed.
  • The management of any hazardous wastes generated at the facility.
  • Management standards reviewed include: containment, storage, labeling, treatment, and waste disposal procedures.
  • The current Unified Facility Permit.

Employee Training Program Documentation: If your facility generates hazardous wastes, (such as waste amalgam, waste solvents, waste cold sterilants, etc.) the inspector will review your written records for training in hazardous waste management.

Medical Waste Management Plan (PDF | WORD) or equivalent: Maintain a document that identifies the wastes you generate at your facility and how they are managed. Other documentation may include the Limited Quantity Hauler Exemption, if one is used to transport medical wastes to a consolidating point.

Disposal documentation: Review of documentation for disposal of medical wastes, uniform hazardous waste manifests and receipts documenting proper disposal of hazardous waste. If your facility generates photographic waste, the inspector will review your management practices for this waste stream.

Onsite treatment documentation: For facilities that treat medical waste onsite, records reviewed will include: 

  • Written operating procedure
  • Annual thermometer calibration
  • Monthly spore testing
  • Autoclave logs with records of time, pressure, temperature, type and quantity of the wastes treated
  • Onsite Treatment Permit for large quantity generators that treat medical wastes onsite

Medical waste container labeling guidance is available here



The County of San Diego Ordinance governing medical waste is codified in Title 6, Division 8, Chapter 12 of the San Diego County Code.

The California Medical Waste Management Act is codified in the Health and Safety Code, Division 104, Part 14. For a copy of this law, lists of registered medical waste haulers, medical waste treatment facilities, alternate treatment technologies, compliance tools and a variety of other pertinent information please visit the California Medical Waste Management Program.

A fact sheet for the proper management of Medical, Dental, and Veterinary Wastes has been provided by the California Department of Toxic Substances and Control and is available here.

Please feel free to contact the Hazardous Materials Duty Specialist by e-mail or by phone at (858) 505-6880 if you have any general questions regarding medical waste inspections. The Hazardous Materials Duty Specialist is available Monday through Friday, from 8 am to 5 pm.

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