Point Pleasant Hazmat Scare Triggers Investigation
Household chemicals that left two Point Pleasant garbage collectors woozy spur borough police to look into the source.
Police Captain Richard Larson tells us that Berkeley Township's Hazardous Materials team and borough firefighters and first-aiders were summoned after fumes oozing from the back of the truck started to overcome the loaders.
"They had stopped to compact the material they gathered after several collections on the route," says Larson, "and they began feeling lightheaded."
The driver took the truck to the borough recycling center, where part of the contents were emptied out and combed.
Larson says that they found "a small amount, maybe a gallon or two" of liquid pesticides and dry household chemicals. The two loaders were treated on the spot and needed no hospitalization.
Larson says that investigators have narrowed their search and have a good idea of where the poisons originated. But the potential ramifications of ignoring Ocean County's stringent garbage, trash and recyclable guidelines keep the investigation open.
"In this instance, no one was seriously hurt," he continues, "but had the liquid shot out during compaction and hit the workers in the face or the eyes, it could have been much worse." A corrosive, he notes, could have meant a potential lifetime debilitation.
Ocean County's household hazardous waste collection days, he notes ironically, take place at this time of year. Bug-killing chemicals are on the list.
There's a list of acceptable materials on the county web page, http://www.co.ocean.nj.us/.
Larson says no charges have been filed, but the possibility still exists once the homeowner is contacted.