Hospital waste removed from landfill

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Plains Regional Medical Center hired Stericycle Medical Waste Disposal to remove infectious waste found at the Clovis landfill.

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

A crew with a medical waste disposal company spent Wednesday cleaning up infectious waste found at the Clovis Landfill on Saturday.

Justin Howalt, city engineer, confirmed that the infectious waste originated at Plains Regional Medical Center. Howalt said the city notified the New Mexico Environment Department, which inspected the waste on Monday.

Marissa Stone Bardino, communications director for NMED, said the department was notified about the material on Saturday.

On Monday, city employees picked up a municipal waste container at Plains Regional Medical Center for inspection, Bardino said. Infectious waste was found, and a Solid Waste Bureau enforcement officer was dispatched to the landfill to conduct a formal load inspection and document the events from the weekend, Bardino said.

The inspection determined that Monday’s container from the hospital contained a sharp, some bloody tubing and more, constituting infectious waste, she said. Bardino said she didn’t have details on the waste found Saturday.

Bardino said all of the discovered infectious waste was being properly containerized and transported from the landfill for treatment and disposal.

NMED will determine the enforcement action against the hospital, she said.

Elizabeth Brophy, spokeswoman for Presbyterian Healthcare Services, the parent company of Plains Regional Medical Center, said proper disposal was completed Wednesday.