Harrisburg, Pa. – Pennsylvania's attorney general has charged Waste Management of New York, and Kephart Trucking, Bigler, Pa., with alleged violations of illegally transporting medical waste from the Varick Transfer Station in Brooklyn, N.Y., to the Shade Landfill in Cairnbrook, Pa. Houston-based Waste Management owns the Varick Transfer Station.
During Pennsylvania's Operation Clean Sweep in May 2002, a state trooper stopped Randall Reed, a commercial truck driver who was contracted by Kephart Trucking to haul waste. The Clean Sweep program was conducted by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to inspect waste-hauling vehicles.
The trooper testified to a grand jury that he observed infectious medwaste onboard the truck, and a special agent with the attorney general’s environmental crimes section testified that lab samples confirmed the presence of human proteins in the waste. The grand jury alleges that Waste Management employees at the Varick Transfer Station mixed infectious hospital waste with municipal waste and loaded it into Reed’s tractor-trailer.
"If [regulatory compliance standards were violated], it is because the generator failed to place medical waste in a red bag as required by law," Waste Management said in a written statement. "Every Waste Management employee has been given additional training on detecting and handling regulated medical waste. This includes drivers, scale operators, spotters and any transfer station personnel likely to come in contact with waste." Waste Management and Kephart Trucking are charged with three counts each of violating the Infectious and Chemotherapeutic Waste Disposal Act. Each count is a third-degree misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to $25,000 per count.