Purpose: Law enforcement agencies within the state of Washington confiscate drugs, including controlled substances, during the course of their work. The controlled substances are kept as evidence until the case is adjudicated. When no longer needed as evidence, law enforcement agencies follow their own policies for the destruction of the controlled substances. These policies include incineration, witnessed by a law enforcement officer. There is only one waste-to-energy facility in Washington that is able to take these wastes; however its permit prohibits the burning of dangerous waste. Some controlled substances designate as dangerous wastes in the state of Washington. This conditional exclusion will make it possible for these wastes to be disposed of at the waste-to-energy facility.
Controlled substances collected by law enforcement agencies within the state of Washington must be handled according to law enforcement policy to assure consistency in handling procedures. Deviations from the policy can put the law enforcement agency at risk for liability, loss of accreditation of their evidence rooms, and may impact case development. Law enforcement agencies have limited budgets for evidence disposal and varying disposal needs. The absence of the option for incinerating controlled substances is an impediment to a necessary element of police work.
This conditional exclusion from the dangerous waste regulations applies only to wastes that are regulated as state-only dangerous waste; that is, they are not also regulated under federal hazardous waste regulations. Ecology does not have the authority to exempt from regulation any drug that is a regulated waste under federal law. The drugs that are regulated as state-only dangerous waste are regulated primarily due to their toxicity. Incineration is an appropriate method of disposal for these low volume, low toxicity wastes.
Citation of Existing Rules Affected by this Order: Amending WAC 173-303-071.
Statutory Authority for Adoption: Chapter 70.105 RCW.
Other Authority: Chapter 43.21A RCW.
Under RCW 34.05.350 the agency for good cause finds that immediate adoption, amendment, or repeal of a rule is necessary for the preservation of the public health, safety, or general welfare, and that observing the time requirements of notice and opportunity to comment upon adoption of a permanent rule would be contrary to the public interest.
Reasons for this Finding: Law enforcement agencies have no in-state options for disposal of confiscated controlled substances that are state-only dangerous wastes. Due to a sudden loss of the last in-state disposal option and an ever increasing backlog in evidence rooms, law enforcement agencies need a safe, acceptable, immediately available option to dispose of these substances. Conditional exclusion from chapter 173-303 WAC will allow for disposal outside of the requirements of dangerous waste regulation.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's Own Initiative: New 0, Amended 1, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted Using Negotiated Rule Making:
Pilot Rule Making:
or Other Alternative Rule Making:
Effective Date of Rule: May 24, 2002.
May 14, 2002
for Tom Fitzsimmons
Reviser's note: The material contained in this filing exceeded the page-count limitations of WAC 1-21-040 for appearance in this issue of the Register. It will appear in the 02-12 issue of the Register.