Medical Waste Management

A facility that generates, stores, or disposes of medical waste in San Diego County must either obtain a Unified Program Facility Permit (UPFP) or a Small Quantity Medical Waste Generator Biennial Registration from the Hazardous Materials Division (HMD).

Learn more about Common Types of Medical Waste



Unified Program Facility Permit:

If any of the following applies to your facility, you are not eligible for the Small Quantity Medical Waste Generator Biennial Registration Program and need to apply for a UPFP instead:

  • Facility generates 200 pounds or more of medical waste in any given month (also known as Large Quantity Generators)
  • Facility treats medical waste onsite in any amount
  • Facility generates hazardous waste in any amount (i.e. bulk chemo, flammable or toxic staining waste, corrosive sodalime/sodasorb waste, RCRA pharmaceuticals, etc) *silver waste is excluded.
  • Facility stores/handles hazardous materials in amount exceeding reporting threshold (500 pounds or more of a solid, 55 gallons or more of a liquid, 200 cu ft or more of a gas)*
  • Facility is subject to any other CUPA program

In order to apply for a UPFP, please fill out a CERS application and email it to For further questions, contact the CERS Help Desk at 858-505-6990.

*Per HSC Section 25507(a)(5), the reporting threshold for oxygen, nitrogen or nitrous oxide maintained by a physician, dentist, podiatrist, veterinarian, pharmacist or emergency medical service provider is 1,000 cubic feet.

Small Quantity Medical Waste Generator Biennial Registration Program:

If your facility does not meet any of the scenarios under UPFP, and your facility generates less than 200 pounds total of medical waste per month you are subject to the Registration Program. Types of waste streams:

  • Sharps waste
  • Biohazardous waste or Red Bag Waste
  • Non-RCRA Pharmaceutical Waste
  • Trace Chemotherapy Waste
  • Pathology Waste
  • Trauma Scene Waste


For more information, visit our Small Quantity Medical Waste Generator Biennial Registration webpage or e-mail

Other Medical Waste Permits & Applications


All medical waste facilities that conduct onsite medical waste treatment must obtain both a UPFP and a Medical Waste Treatment Permit from the HMD. A medical waste treatment permit must be obtained prior to treating any medical waste and must be renewed every 5 years.

“Treatment” means any method, technique, or process designed to change or destroy the biological character or composition of any medical waste so as to eliminate its potential for causing disease or creating public or environmental harm. 

“Onsite” means a medical waste treatment facility on the same or adjacent property as the generator of the medical waste being treated. “Adjacent,” means real property within 400 yards from the property boundary of the existing medical waste treatment facility.

Facilities that use either of the following approved treatment methods are exempt from obtaining a MW Treatment Permit at this time:

  • a sharps solidification and disposal device (e.g. Isolyser)
  • chemically disinfect liquid or semi-liquid biohazardous waste and abide by all regulations outlined in MWMA 118215(c)
  • Rx Destroyer
  • Cactus Sink

Question: Is my facility still eligible for the registration program if we are a SQG MW and treat our non-RCRA pharmaceutical waste using an Rx Destroyer or Cactus Sink?

Answer: Yes, Rx Destroyer and Cactus Sink are considered exempt forms of MW treatment, so there is no need for an on-site permit for treatment.

For facilities that treat medical waste onsite, records reviewed will include: 

  • Written Operating Procedure
  • Emergency Action Plan
  • Closure Plan
  • Annual thermometer calibration (2 years)
  • Monthly spore testing (2 years)
  • Autoclave logs with records of time, pressure, temperature, type and quantity of the wastes treated (2 years)
  • Initial and annual training for operators (2 years)
  • Tracking documents for untreated medical waste shipped offsite (2-3 years depending on generator status)

Application for Onsite Medical Waste Treatment Permit (HM-9188)  

For more information contact Dana Barkil at


A permitted or registered medical waste generator may accept home-generated sharps waste, to be consolidated with the facility’s medical waste stream upon approval by HMD.  Home-generated sharps waste is not subject to any permit or registration fees or storage and containment regulation.  

Application for Home-Generated Sharps Consolidation Point (HM-9158) 


A permitted or registered medical waste generator may generate medical waste at temporary events and self-transport their medical waste to a central consolidation point. The County of San Diego must be informed of any temporary medical waste events at least 72 hours prior to the event. For detailed instructions on how to register your event, please refer to the Medical Waste Temporary Events Registration Guidance Presentation. Applications can be completed and submitted online.