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United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Safety Advisory: Packaging and Handling Ebola Virus Contaminated Infectious Waste for Transportation to Disposal Sites

Guidance: Packaging and Handling Ebola Virus Contaminated Infectious Waste for Transportation to Disposal Sites

This Safety Advisory provides guidance on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT)
Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 C.F.R., Parts 171-180) to persons who prepare,
offer and transport materials contaminated or suspected of being contaminated with the Ebola
virus. The HMR apply to any material that the DOT determines is capable of posing an 
unreasonable risk to health, safety, and property when transported in commerce.

Material contaminated or suspected of being contaminated with Ebola is regulated as a Category A infectious substance under the HMR. To ensure their safe transportation, the Ebola
contaminated materials must be packaged in conformity with the applicable requirements in the
HMR for Category A infectious substances. Ebola contaminated materials that have been
appropriately incinerated, autoclaved, or otherwise inactivated are not considered Category A
infectious substances and are not subject to the requirements of the HMR. For more information
on the HMR requirements see http://phmsa.dot.gov/hazmat/transporting-infectious-substances .
For guidance on how to handle infectious substances before transporting them, refer to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/hcp/index.html

This document is intended to provide general guidance and does not address many of the
specific provisions and exceptions contained in the HMR. It should not be used as a substitute
for the HMR to determine compliance. Strict compliance with the HMR is required, unless you
have been granted a special permit.

Transportation of a hazardous material in a motor vehicle, aircraft, or vessel operated by
a Federal, state, or local government employee solely for noncommercial Federal, state, or local
government purposes is not subject to the HMR. Accordingly, waste generated from the
treatment of a patient contaminated or suspected of being contaminated with the Ebola virus
transported by a Federal, state, or local government employee to a disposal facility is not subject
to the HMR. DOT, however, recommends that Federal, state, or local governments comply with
appropriate safety requirements provided in the HMR to ensure the safe transportation of waste
contaminated or suspected of being contaminated with the Ebola virus. We also recommend
compliance with all conditions and operational controls specified in any applicable special
permit issued for the transportation of waste contaminated or suspected of being contaminated
with the Ebola virus and our guidance referred to below. To transport materials contaminated or
suspected of being contaminated with the Ebola virus, a special permit may be necessary to
allow for a variance of the HMR packaging requirements to handle the larger volume of
contaminated waste generated during the treatment of Ebola patients. DOT may grant a special
permit if the applicant can demonstrate that an alternative packaging will achieve a safety level
that is at least equal to the safety level required under HMR or is consistent with the public
interest if a required safety level does not exist. Emergency processing of special permits applies
when the special permit is necessary to prevent significant injury to persons or property not
preventable under normal processing, for immediate national security, or to prevent significant
economic loss. To qualify for emergency processing, the application must meet specific criteria,
justifications must be well documented, and describe the impact if the special permit is not
granted.

PHMSA issued a non-site specific special permit (Special Permit DOT-SP 16279) to
certain waste haulers, which authorizes the transportation in commerce of waste contaminated
with or suspected of being contaminated with the Ebola virus for disposal. Other waste haulers
not yet authorized under Special Permit DOT-SP 16279 may apply for party status in accordance
with 49 CFR 107.107. If an entity needs a variance from the HMR, it must apply for a special
permit as provided in 49 CFR 107 subpart B. 

DOT is committed to ensuring that information is available in appropriate alternative formats to meet the requirements of persons who have a disability. If you require an alternative version of files provided on this page, please contact PHMSA-Accessibility@dot.gov.
Published Date: Thursday, October 30, 2014