Hospital fined for waste-disposal practices



PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center will pay the state Department of Ecology $13,340 as part of an agreement to settle violations of dangerous-waste regulations, Ecology officials said Monday.

Responding to a complaint, Ecology inspectors found seven violations at the Vancouver hospital. The most serious were failing to adequately identify dangerous wastes and failing to send those wastes to a facility permitted for proper disposal, Ecology officials said in a news release. Chemicals were discharged to the sanitary sewer system and without notification to the local sewer utility.

After the Department of Ecology notified the hospital about the violations, PeaceHealth Southwest returned to compliance, the state said. The Ecology department originally recommended a $20,000 penalty, but the hospital accepted an expedited settlement that reduced the fine one-third and waived the hospital’s right to appeal.