United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Scope of Exemption in 10 CFR 20.303 (d) for Disposal of Patient Excreta in Sanitary Sewers

HPPOS-035 PDR-9111210162

Title: Scope of Exemption in 10 CFR 20.303 (d) for

Disposal of Patient Excreta in Sanitary Sewers

See the memorandum from W. J. Olmstead to H. E. Book dated

October 13, 1982, and the incoming request from H. E. Book

dated August 31, 1982. It is an OELD opinion that the

exemption in 10 CFR 20.303 (d) applies even when disposals

of patient excreta do not follow direct routes from patient

to sewer (e.g., urine samples sent to a laboratory for

analysis). Thus, records need not be kept per 10 CFR

20.401 (b). The health physics position was written in the

context of 10 CFR 20.6, 20.303, and 20.401, but it also

applies to the "new" 10 CFR Part 20, Sections 20.1006,

20.2003, and 20.2108.

During an inspection in a nuclear medicine laboratory, a

Region V inspector asked a medical technologist if any

I-131 waste was disposed to the sanitary sewer. When the

answer was affirmative, the inspector asked to see the

record of such disposals required by 10 CFR 20.401 (b) [or

10 CFR 20.2108 (a)]. He was told that no records were

kept. On the basis of that information, a Notice of

Violation was issued, including a citation for

noncompliance with 10 CFR 30.51 (a) and 20.401 (b) [or 10

CFR 20.2108 (a)], both of which require records of disposal.

The licensee responded that urine collected during uptake

studies and containing I-131 was disposed to the sanitary

sewer after being held for some decay. While some records

were maintained, they did not include the quantity of I-131

in the urine at the time of disposal. The physician

stated, as part of his corrective action, the quantity of

I-131 in microcuries would be recorded for each disposal.

Region V told the licensee they would request an

interpretation of the regulations. It was suggested to the

licensee that he continue to maintain records of the

disposals, but that he would be informed the contents of

the interpretation when received.

10 CFR 20.303 [or 10 CFR 20.2003] specifies the conditions

under which licensees may dispose of licensed material by

release into a sanitary sewer system and provides only one

exception to these conditions. That exception is contained

in 10 CFR 20.303 (d) [or 10 CFR 20.2003 (b)] which states

in part:

"Excreta from individuals undergoing medical diagnosis or

therapy with radioactive material shall be exempt from any

limitations contained in this section."

It is an OELD opinion that as long as two basic conditions

of the exemption are satisfied, licensees are permitted to

discharge patient excreta into sanitary sewers without

limitation. The two conditions for exemption that must be

satisfied are: (1) the matter to be disposed of must be

excreta, and (2) the excreta must be obtained from

individuals undergoing medical diagnosis or therapy with

radioactive materials. OELD also expressed the opinion

that exempt disposals of patient excreta should not be

subject to the recordkeeping requirements contained in 10

CFR 20.401 (b) [or 10 CFR 20.2108 (a)].

In must be noted that in accordance with 10 CFR 20.6 [or 10

CFR 20.1006], the opinions expressed by OELD do not

constitute an interpretation which will be recognized as

binding upon the Commission.

Regulatory references: 10 CFR 20.303, 10 CFR 20.401, 10

CFR 20.2003, 10 CFR 20.2108

Subject codes: 2.1, 9.0, 9.7

Applicability: Byproduct Material

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, March 29, 2012