Skip to main content

Refer to the “Liquids” section of the Biohazard Waste Disposal Chart. If your liquid waste was used for propagating microbes/viral vectors/toxins AND you are unable to autoclave your liquid biohazard waste, you will need to make application to the North Carolina Medical Waste Division to dispose of this chemically disinfected liquid microbiological waste down the drain.

If you are unable to autoclave liquid waste potentially contaminated with any of the materials listed in the chart below, you will need to make application to the North Carolina Medical Waste Division to dispose of this chemically disinfected liquid microbiological waste down the sanitary sewer.

Approval Requirements
Requires Approval No Approval Required*
Liquid waste media from cells/tissue likely to be infected with risk group 1, 2, or 3 pathogens including those produced in recombinant DNA procedures. Liquid waste media from uninfected human tissue culture (continuous or primary cell lines). A verification process may be necessary.
“Microbiological waste” as defined by the North Carolina medical waste regulations: e.g. cultures and stocks of infectious agents, including but not limited to specimens from medical, pathological, pharmaceutical, research, commercial, and industrial laboratories. “Blood and body fluids” as defined by the North Carolina medical waste regulations**: e.g. liquid blood, serum, plasma, other blood products, emulsified human tissue, spinal fluids, and pleural and peritoneal fluids. Dialysates are not blood or body fluids under this definition.

*It is UNC policy that all uninfected liquid material of human origin be properly treated either through steam sterilization or chemically treated prior to disposal down the sanitary sewer with copious amounts of water.

**Note: the “Blood and body fluids” definition under the North Carolina Medical Waste Regulations should not be confused with the “Human Blood and Other Potentially Infectious Material” definition put forth by OSHA under the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard.

If you wish to obtain approval for chemical treatments of infectious liquids please submit the Request for Approval to Chemical Treat Liquid Microbiological Waste form and supporting documentation to EHS. Contact the Biological Safety office for any questions.

To simplify this application process, your lab may be able to adapt an existing protocol. One example is adapting the approved protocol below for “Treating HIV waste with 10 percent bleach” to a lentiviral vector because HIV is classified as a lentivirus within the retrovirus family, having genetic and morphologic similarities to the engineered viral vector.

UNC Has Obtained the Following Approvals From the NC Division of Waste Management

Summary of Approvals
Pathogen Disinfectant Used Contact Time
Adenovirus 10% bleach 30 minutes
coronavirus tissue culture (not MERS or SARS) 10% bleach min 2 hours
Dengue virus 1:10 bleach 20 minutes
Dengue virus 5:1 of 1% bleach 1-6 hours
Escherichia coli 25% BacDown 24-48 hours
Escherichia coli 1:128 Vesphene min 8 hours
Escherichia coli 1:64 Vesphene 30 minutes
Fusobacterium nucleatum 10% bleach 30 minutes
Hepatitis A 1:100 Virkon 30 minutes
Hepatitis C 1:100 Virkon 30 minutes
Histoplasma capsulatum 1:64 Vesphene 30 minutes
HIV 10% bleach 1-6 hours
Japanese Encephalitis virus (attenuated vaccine strain) 1:10 bleach 20 minutes
Klebsiella pneumonia 1:64 Vesphene 30 minutes
Moloney Murine Leukemia Virus (MMLV)-based retroviral vectors-based retroviral vectors 10% bleach 1-18 hours
Mycobacterium smegmatis 1:128 Vesphene min 8 hours
Pseudomonas aeruginosa 25% BacDown 24-48 hours
Salmonella typhimurium 1:64 Vesphene 30 minutes
Staphylococcus aureus 25% BacDown 24-48 hours
Yellow Fever (attenuated vaccine strain) 1:10 bleach 20 minutes
Y. enterocolitica, Y. pseudotuberculosis 1:64 Vesphene 30 minutes
Zika virus 1:10 bleach 20 minutes

Frequently Asked Questions

I can’t autoclave my liquid microbiological waste. Can I use the treatment procedures detailed in the approvals above?
The treatment procedures listed in the approval documents may be used by your laboratory to chemically treat the waste prior to disposal in the sanitary sewer (autoclaving not required)only if you generate liquid waste as described in the approved procedures (e.g. concentrations and quantities that do not exceed those listed in the approval).Variations from the treatment procedures including quantity and concentration of waste being generated, disinfectant type, and contact time outlined in the approvals are not approved and will require a separate request for approval.If you choose to use one of the approved chemical treatment procedures in your laboratory, please document this in your Lab Safety Plan under Schedule F (Biological Hazards), submit the updated Schedule F to EHS (CB #1650) with an explanation of the change, and place a copy of the approval documents in your laboratory safety notebook with your Schedule F.