Pennsylvania agency seizes medical waste trailer

Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) seized a trailer owned by Kephart Trucking Co., which Pennsylvania State Police found to be illegally transporting infectious medical waste from New York City. The seizure was made as a follow-up to Operation Clean Sweep, a multi-agency state environmental enforcement effort conducted in May 2000. It involved 500 staff members from DEP, PA

Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) seized a trailer owned by Kephart Trucking Co., which Pennsylvania State Police found to be illegally transporting infectious medical waste from New York City.

The seizure was made as a follow-up to Operation Clean Sweep, a multi-agency state environmental enforcement effort conducted in May 2000. It involved 500 staff members from DEP, PA state police and the state’s Dept. of Transportation who conducted surprise inspections of trash trucks at every state landfill. The agencies took 849 trucks or drivers out of service because they were deemed unsafe.

State police stopped the Kephart vehicle for a safety inspection on I-80. An officer noticed a reddish substance leaking from the trailer and discovered medical waste hidden under a thin layer of municipal waste. A DEP inspector arrived, confirmed the illegal material, and ordered the truck driven to the Wayne Township Landfill in Clinton County for further inspection.

Agents from DEP’s Bureau of Investigation examined some of the load in detail over a two-day period, finding syringes, bedpans, wound dressings and paperwork from the generators of the waste. The material had been picked up by Kephart at a Waste Management Inc. transfer station in the Bronx and was headed for the Shade Landfill in Central City.

Waste Management Inc. will pay to have the medical waste transported from the Wayne Township landfill to a permitted disposal facility, DEP said. The trailer will be held for forfeiture proceedings, it added.

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