In totally unrelated incidents this May, garbage truck drivers in Texas and West Virginia were injured after pool and spa chemicals were inappropriately disposed of as household trash.
In both cases, the workers were hospitalized.
Three garbage truck workers in Huntington, West Virginia, were overcome by chlorine gas when discarded pool chemicals were compacted in the garbage truck.
Kyree Congleton was part of the crew who were injured.
“We don’t have X-ray vision, so we’ve got to roll with what people put in their trash or garbage,” Congleton said. “There wasn’t any more room [in the truck.] Once we crushed it, all of a sudden, a white substance began pouring and bubbling out. Then a white fog pushed out. It got in my eyes. A coworker and I had trouble breathing.”
Congelton said he was off of work for about a week, and his blurred vision self-repaired.
All three workers are now back to work, but they hope that the public will take better care with things they are discarding.
“Take care of us, and we’ll take care of you,” Congleton said.
Meanwhile, in Bedford, Texas, a garbage truck driver was forced to dump a truckload of garbage after a fire started inside the truck from pool chemicals placed in someone’s
On Friday, a truckload of garbage had to be dumped on a residential street because someone put pool chemicals in their garbage and they ignited a fire in a garbage truck in Flower Mound Photo courtesy of the town of Flower Mound. normal trash.
Bedford city officials issued the following statement concerning the driver, who works for Republic Services: “Pool chemicals are highly combustible and considered hazardous waste, meaning they need to be disposed of separately from your normal trash. Otherwise, they can cause a fire in a truck and force Republic Services to unload the truck immediately (since all items inside are now considered hazardous waste) and haul it off separately.
Republic Services fully investigates these incidents and discovered the pool chemicals came from a Bedford home. Even though the Euless Fire Department responded quickly, the driver, who inhaled the combustible chemicals, had to spend four days in the hospital being treated for his injuries.”
Pool owners can dispose of pool chemicals safely by bringing them to most pool supply stores. If they are unexpired, ask if a neighborhood pool will take them.
Citizens can also reach out to their local waste hauler and coordinate proper disposal of these materials.
For questions about garbage, call your local Public Works office.
City officials remind residents to not throw out these items in their household garbage:
• Car batteries.
• Liquid paint, unless it was dried out with cat litter.
• Motor oil.
• Appliances that contain refrigerant.
• Containers that are marked “hazardous waste.”
• Fuel and gas tanks, unless they are cut in half and cleaned out.
• Pool chemicals.
• Chemicals or items regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.