Medical waste found in unlocked trailer concerns Macedonia police and health officials

Posted at 5:45 PM, Apr 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-19 18:27:03-04

Summit County Public Health officials and Macedonia police are raising concerns after boxes and boxes of medical waste were found inside an unlocked trailer at a truck leasing lot on S. Freeway Drive.

Lt. Vince Yakopovich said the city was not aware that medical waste may have been stored in as many as seven different trailers since February. However, officers investigated on Tuesday after receiving information from the health department.

Yakopovich noticed one box appeared to be wet. He didn't open the boxes. Instead, he took photographs and padlocked the door.

"We opened the trailer, obviously a safety issue. We were concerned if there were sharps or medical waste biohazard," Yakopovich said. "You never know. Some kid comes walking in there. Who knows what's in there? Needles? We don't people to have contact with that stuff."

Advantra Waste Solutions, which transports waste, was storing medical waste in some of the trailers over a period of seven to eight weeks, according to Julie Brown, sanitary supervisor with Summit County Public Health.

"I can say that the trailers there were in pretty poor condition. A lot of them had gaps and holes in some of the ends of them," Brown said.

News 5 was in Walton Hills last September after a foul odor and about 2,000 boxes of waste led to an investigation inside a warehouse Advantra was using.

Walton Hills leaders said there wasn't a threat to public health, but health officials said the company was forced to move out of the building. 

Brown said the county can take action only if the trailers become a public nuisance from odors or rodents, but she stressed laws do not require transporters to dispose of medical waste within a certain amount of time.

"I'm astonished that there isn't some sort of state regulation that prohibits the storage of medical waste," Yakopovich said.

However, police said Advantra is violating a Macedonia trash ordinance and has been ordered by the city to remove the medical waste.

"They got to move it out or they'll be cited," Yakopovich said.

Jamie Reid, an employee of Advantra, said the company is in full compliance and the company frequently removes medical waste from the trailers to be transported to a disposal facility.

Reid said things like protected syringes, rubber gloves and other medical equipment are kept in the trailers.

The company has agreed to move the trailers out of Macedonia by Friday.