With two disposal plants on the drawing board, the Davis County Health Board this week approved regulations governing the transportation and disposal of infectious medical waste.

Drawn up by the county health department's environmental division, the regulations are among the first of their kind in the state and in the nation, said division Director Rich Harvey.When he began researching how infectious medical waste is disposed of in other parts of the country, Harvey said, he found few existing regulations. When other regulatory agencies learned he was writing a proposed ordinance, they expressed interest in the final draft, Harvey said.

"We really are plowing the ground on this thing," Harvey told the health board.

After months of research, several drafts and a public hearing, Harvey presented the final draft to the health board, which adopted it this week, effective Jan. 1.

Two medical waste facilities are proposed in Davis County. One is an incineration plant proposed by a private firm in North Salt Lake and the other is an autoclave adjacent to the county's garbage-burning plant in north Layton.

The autoclave will use steam generated by the plant to sterilize the waste, which will then be burned.

Disposal of infectious medical waste is becoming a nationwide issue, Harvey indicated. The construction and operation of two plants in Davis County means waste will probably be brought in from the rest of Utah and adjacent states such as Wyoming and Idaho.