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Bids will be sent out next month on an autoclave that will put Davis County in the medical waste disposal business.

The $120,000 unit will be purchased and operated by the Davis County Solid Waste Management and Energy Recovery District, which operates the north Davis landfill and burn plant.District Director LeGrand Bitter said the autoclave should be built by August. It will be just outside the burn plant.

Once the unit is in operation, all medical waste generated in Davis County - estimated to be about 1,000 pounds per day - must, by ordinance, be disposed of at the burn plant. The medical waste brought to the autoclave, however, does not include large body parts, which, by EPA regulation, must be disposed of in a cemetery or crematorium, Bitter said.

The autoclave superheats the medical waste with steam, rendering it safe for "processing" in the burn plant, which generates steam that is sold to nearby Hill Air Force Base.

If the district can attract that much business a day, the district could make more than $250,000 a year on medical waste disposal alone.

A second autoclave, if needed, could also be built, he said.

That money would help stabilize tipping fees and make it easier for the district to pay off its $54 million bond, which is scheduled to be paid back in the year 2006.

Medical waste, gets a lot of attention but is really no more dangerous than other garbage, said Richard Harvey, director of environmental health for the county health department