WASHINGTON — Aug. 31, 2015 — Two new hazardous waste rules proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are designed to improve water quality without burdening businesses, according to a press release.

One of the proposed measures will prevent the flushing of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals and make health care worker requirements simpler, noted the release. The second rule involves new safeguards to protect the public from hazardous waste mismanagement, while giving the industry greater flexibility.

“These rules provide businesses with certainty and the flexibility they need to successfully operate in today’s marketplace,” said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, in the release. “The proposals will improve the safety and health of our communities by providing clear, flexible and protective hazardous waste management standards.”

Drinking and surface water are expected to receive more protection by the rules, making them safer and healthier, stated the release. The measures could stop more than 6,400 tons of pharmaceuticals from being flushed down the sink and toilet by health care facilities every year.

Under the rules, health care facilities would receive specific sets of regulations, reported the release. Facilities include hospitals, clinics, retail stores with pharmacies and reverse distributors.

The EPA will accept comments on the proposal for 60 days, shared the release.

Click here to read the entire release.

Read Dr. Joe Cotruvo’s Contaminant of the Month on medical wastes from our September issue here.