Wednesday morning, Aug. 14, Woolwich fire units responded to the end of Hockomock Road for a possible hazardous materials incident. The local trash company Riverside Disposal was, as they do every day, taking care of the things we discard. Wednesday, someone had put a gallon jug of muriatic acid in a trash bag, which is not a good idea.
The trash trucks compress the load to make room for more trash. When the compactor was activated, it tore open the jug, releasing the acid, which mixed with the contents of the rear bin of the truck and started smoking and off-gassing, which made the rear trash man feel ill, stopping the truck, because of the dangers involved.
The trash company found and removed the container, called the fire department, and Engine 2 and Rescue 1 responded.
Due to being a hazmat incident, no chances were taken. At the time of the call to us, we were not notified of it being just a gallon jug. Sagadahoc County Emergency Management Agency was contacted by dispatch and asked to have Brunswick’s hazmat team respond. They brought Squad 4 and several members and a deputy chief.
The acid was neutralized, and the container was put into a sealed barrel and taken away by Maine Department of Environmental Protection. Fire Department units cleared and the truck operators continued on with the DEP’s OK to deliver the trash load to the landfill the company uses.
We toss a lot of things away. Most of it is nothing but harmless, but stuff like this can react with the metal in the truck, or other debris that could cause burns, fire and death. These two gentlemen were lucky, and able to determine the acid, and knew to get the fire department en route.
Please, don’t put things like this in your trash. This could have easily broken in the bag in someone’s home, basement, garage, or vehicle and caused much larger damage or death.
Thank you to Sagadahoc County dispatch and EMA, Brunswick Fire Departement Hazmat and Woolwich Fire/EMS for responding.