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Archive December 2017 XVIII, No. 12

Down the Drain or Direct to Drain?

Our search for a simple, safe and cost-effective solution for fluid waste disposal.

Darlene Hinkle

Darlene Hinkle, MSN, RN, CNOR


pump fluids SEAL THE DEAL By using wall-mounted ports, you can pump fluids from your sealed canisters directly into sewage.

Not long ago, disposing of liquid waste was a most unpleasant task. You'd either have to pull off the tops of canisters and dump the liquid down a hopper, a crude method that carried with it the constant risk of splashback of blood and body fluids. Or you'd solidify the canisters of waste and dump them into red bags that a medical waste hauler who charged by the pound would later pick up. Pour down the drain or red-bag — neither option safe, efficient or economical.

But thanks to today's direct-to-drain units, we can empty canisters directly into a sanitary sewer system — a clean, safe no-pour solution to fluid waste disposal that not only reduces staff exposure to infectious fluid but also shaves minutes off of room cleanup and may in the long run lower waste disposal costs.

With a closed direct-to-drain system like ours, staff attach full containers to wall-mounted drainage units, which pump the waste directly into the sewer. We also considered direct-to-drain disposal with high-capacity roving units that collect fluid directly from the surgical site, suction mats or floor wicking devices. Staff simply wheel filled rovers to a docking station, hook them up and stand back as the contents are automatically emptied into the sewer.

Going direct-to-drain
Before we switched to a direct-to-drain suction canister system 5 years ago, we packaged untreated liners into red biohazard bags. But with the expense, the leaks and the constant risk of exposure to dangerous fluids, we knew we needed a change.

Cost was the most pressing concern we had with our red-bag system. Yes, we saved on reusable canisters, but we were spending a small fortune on waste removal. You'd be surprised how much container-based disposal methods can cost, so it's important to remember you're buying containers and paying more for red bag waste on a regular basis.

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