MADISON, Wis. (Legal Newsline) - Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced a judgment on Wednesday against a Milwaukee County health care provider to resolve allegations it violated Wisconsin's hazardous waste statutes and regulations.
Aurora Health Care Inc. allegedly violated state law by improperly disposing of pharmaceutical hazardous waste as solid waste at its West Allis, St. Luke's and Sinai medical centers in Milwaukee County. Aurora also allegedly violated state regulations by storing incompatible hazardous wastes in the same plastic tote, failing to properly mark universal waste containers, failing to conduct weekly inspections of hazardous waste containers, failing to keep a hazardous waste container closed during storage and failing to determine if certain bandages counted as hazardous waste.
The improper disposal of pharmaceutical hazardous waste as solid waste can lead to trace amounts of pharmaceuticals entering liquid that passes through the solid waste at a landfill. The liquid is typically discharged into a sanitary sewer for treatment by a local public owned treatment works (POTW). Most POTWs are not able to remove pharmaceuticals.
Studies show that the improper disposal of pharmaceuticals is contributing to sexual and behavioral mutations in birds, amphibians and fish.
Aurora will pay $340,000 in forfeitures, court costs, surcharges and attorney fees to resolve the allegations. Aurora has implemented a comprehensive hazardous waste disposal program to ensure that future pharmaceutical hazardous waste is properly disposed of.