For Immediate Release
November 4, 2015
Mary E. Maloney, Assistant Attorney General
Attorney General Joseph A. Foster and Commissioner Thomas S. Burack of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services ("NHDES") announce that the Merrimack County Superior Court (Nicolosi, J.) approved a consent decree between the State and The Cheshire Medical Center, ("Cheshire Medical") resolving allegations of violations of the Hazardous Waste Management Act at Cheshire Medical's facilities in Keene.
The State alleged that Cheshire Medical failed to identify certain pharmaceutical wastes as hazardous wastes and shipped them to facilities that were not authorized to accept hazardous wastes.
Under state and federal regulations, 30 pharmaceuticals are specifically listed as hazardous waste and there are numerous other pharmaceuticals that are considered hazardous waste due to their characteristics. State law requires that hazardous waste be handled and disposed of in accordance with the State's Hazardous Waste Rules, in order to prevent harm to human health or the environment.
During the course of an inspection in May 2013, NHDES learned of Cheshire Medical's past practice of shipping certain pharmaceutical hazardous wastes to unauthorized facilities. Cheshire Medical had self-corrected this violation as of January 2010. During the 2013 inspection, DES also discovered that Cheshire Medical failed to follow certain hazardous waste storage requirements and training requirements for employees at the hospital. Cheshire Medical quickly corrected all the remaining violations once identified by NHDES and was cooperative throughout the investigation.
The allegations against Cheshire Medical do not pertain to infectious waste, such as used needles.
Under the terms of the settlement, Cheshire Medical will be assessed a total penalty of $200,000.
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New Hampshire Department of Justice
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