published Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Marion County leaders make deal that cuts medical waste costs

JASPER, Tenn. — Marion County leaders have worked out a deal to reduce the costs associated with medical waste disposal but still add to the county's existing services.

The Marion County Commission voted unanimously this week to allow County Mayor John Graham to sign a new contract with Stericycle Inc., of Cleveland, Tenn., to handle all of the county's medical waste disposal needs for $297 per month.

The five-year contract is retroactive to July 1. It represents a decrease in what the county pays for those services, officials said.

Under the new contract, Graham said, Stericycle will reduce the number of medical waste collection trips to the county throughout the year, which lowers costs.

The county wasn't filling up the medical waste containers it had, which was causing needless extra costs for the disposal service, he said.

County Attorney Billy Gouger said the number of collection trips still will be more than adequate to meet all of the county's medical waste disposal needs.

The county already was under contract with Stericycle until 2015, but the new agreement adds training classes for county employees that it didn't have under the old deal.

County Sheriff Ronnie "Bo" Burnett said the classes Stericycle will offer his employees are required by the federal government.

"It's important we have those classes and that [the board] approves of the contract," he said.

Officials said the training sessions will cover how to handle hazardous medical waste, how to properly dispose of it, and what to do in the event of accidental exposure.

Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at

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