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Interpretation Response #15-0018 ([New Jersey State Funeral Directors Association, Inc.] [Mr. Guziejewski])

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: New Jersey State Funeral Directors Association, Inc.

Individual Name: Mr. Guziejewski

Location State: NJ Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

August 6, 2015

Mr. Adam S. Guziejewski
Assistant Executive Director for
Policy and Membership New Jersey State Funeral Directors
Association, Inc.
P.O. Box L
Manasquan, NJ 08736-0642

Reference No. 15-0018

Dear Mr. Guziejewski:

This is in response to your January 21, 2015 letter, January 16 and 23, 2015 e-mails, January 16, 2015 telephone conversation, and March 4, 2015 meeting with Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) staff members requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to embalming process wastewater generated by a dozen New Jersey funeral homes. Specifically, you ask if the HMR's requirements for infectious substances apply to embalming process wastewater when transported in commerce.

You brought a document to the March 4th meeting entitled "Synopsis Regarding the Limited Transportation of Funeral Home Embalming Wastewater to the Treatment Works for Final Disposal as Ordinary Wastewater (Note as Infectious Waste)." You also attached three documents in your January 16th e-mail. These include: 1) a June 9, 1995 report commissioned and published by the New Jersey State Funeral Directors Association (NJSFDA) entitled "Funeral Home Wastestream Audit Report;" 2) five attachments to the report entitled (A) "Attachment A—National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) Master List: Material Safety Data Sheet Chemicals," (B) "Individual Funeral Home Sampling Data," (C) "Background on Embalming," (D) "Sampling Field Notes," and (E) "NFDA Waste Minimization Recommendations;" and 3) a January 5, 2015 Work Plan entitled " New Jersey State Funeral Directors Association Assessment of Pathogens in Embalming Process Wastewater (diverted to and stored in above ground septic tanks prior to transportation and discharge to a treatment works." Summarized, these documents say the following:

  • The residual presence of formaldehyde, a known and effective germicide, suggests that any infectious materials are likely to be rendered inactive in the embalming process.
  • Alcohol and formaldehyde are also considered to have disinfection properties. These chemicals are also believed to disinfect pathogens in the embalming wastewater and most likely render the waste as noninfectious.
  • Given that the wastewater under discussion will be further treated by a sewage treatment plant after transport from the funeral home, and given that the US DOT criteria – to the extent applicable – speaks to a standard of Category B infectious wastes as "unlikely to cause disease in humans and animals," we believe there is a logical alignment between the USEPA Class-B sludge criteria and the US DOT Category B standards.

In conformance with § 173.22 of the HMR, it is the shipper's responsibility to properly classify a hazardous material. This Office generally does not perform this function. However, based on the information you provided, it is the opinion of this Office that the material you described does not meet the definition of an infectious substance, also known as a Division 6.2 material, under § 173.134. Therefore, it is not subject to the HMR's requirements for infectious substances.

I hope this satisfies you request.



T. Glenn Foster
Chief, Regulatory Review and Reinvention Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division

173.22. 173.134

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.22 Shipper's responsibility