Hazardous waste in garbage sends 4 workers to hospital

An official said the incident underscores why hazardous wastes require special handling.

EVERETT — Four county employees were sent to the hospital for medical evaluations Wednesday morning after a report of a chemical spill at a solid waste transfer station near Paine Field.

The trash dropoff on Airport Road was closed and evacuated. It reopened after 10 a.m.

The workers were transported to the hospital for monitoring. A few patrons who were using the recycling and transfer station were escorted out of the building along with all employees.

A hazardous materials team was brought in for cleanup, Snohomish County officials said.

“It looks like industrial cleaning solvents,” said Matt Zybas, the county’s solid waste director.

Workers had reported a strong unusual odor around 8 a.m. About five gallons of heavy duty degreaser that a customer brought in were found in two 2.5-gallon jugs. The Snohomish County Hazardous Materials team was called and secured the containers. One of the jugs had a loose lid, resulting in the spillage.

A hazardous waste contracting firm quickly cleared the spill.

“This is one of the reasons we emphasize that chemical containers are sealed and disposing of hazardous waste properly — not in the garbage,” Zybas said. “Fortunately our emergency management plan was executed successfully to minimize the exposure.”

Zybas said Wednesday’s incident underscores why hazardous wastes require special handling.

They can’t be put in the dumpster, poured down the drain or evaporated into the air. Nor can they be taken to the transfer station, he said.

Every business must comply with regulations, no matter how little hazardous waste it generates.

The requirements for managing hazardous waste are spelled out in the Washington dangerous waste regulations, which are included in Chapters 173 to 303 of the Washington Administrative Code. Those regulations spell out how hazardous waste must be stored, handled, transported and disposed.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; stevick@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Julie Copeland, center, with her daughters Lillian, 11, Naomi, 7 and son, Michah, 9 with their dog Pippin, 3, outside of Mary's Place on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020 in Burien, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
A family of 6 pitched tent in Forest Park — then help arrived

Everett’s innovative team of a police officer and a social worker aided them in their time of greatest need.

A major fire broke out on the Everett waterfront Monday morning in an apparently difficult location. (Sue Misao / The Herald) 20181008
Everett boater gets house arrest for fraud in marina fire

He lost his boat in a 2018 fire. But valuables he claimed were destroyed weren’t burned. He sold them on OfferUp.

Port of Everett, state offer new small business grants

Port tenants and companies affected by COVID-19 health restrictions are encouraged to apply.

New Snohomish County online guide aims to boost businesses

County officials have launched an online business directory to help shoppers find local food and wares.

Man arrested after allegedly shooting at, fleeing deputies

A homeowner reportedly found the Lake Stevens man, 40, hiding in a garage and called 911.

Local economic relief programs to get $4.5 million infusion

The new cash will go to small businesses via city grant programs and Economic Alliance Snohomish County.

Auditor: Lack of oversight led to errors in Sultan finances

For a second time, the state auditor’s office urged the city to improve its financial review process.

Voters Brie Roberts, 28, and Michael Woods, 30, vote for the first time at the Robert J. Drewel Administration Building on the Snohomsish County Campus on Monday, Nov. 2, 2020 in Everett, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Voters young and old put this election in the record book

Generations X and Z, and Millennials, showed up and increased their share of votes compared to 2016.

$250,000 bail for Everett man accused of firing at deputy

A five-mile chase ended with the suspect allegedly breaking into a Mill Creek home Saturday night.

Most Read