Radioactive waste found in county trash, but don’t panic: It’s probably just medical waste

BY ANNEMARIE SCHUETZ
Posted 12/16/20

MONTICELLO, NY — I guess this is one of those stories where you can read the headline and you’re good to go. 

But yes, some radioactive waste was found in the trash at the …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Radioactive waste found in county trash, but don’t panic: It’s probably just medical waste

Posted

MONTICELLO, NY — I guess this is one of those stories where you can read the headline and you’re good to go. 

But yes, some radioactive waste was found in the trash at the Sullivan County landfill. The topic was brought up at the December 10 public works meeting by deputy commissioner Mark Witkowski.

It was unclear how much waste we’re talking about. But “some” does not translate into “vast amounts.” 

It is, of course, illegal to dump radioactive anything in the county landfill, per the solid waste rules (which we have just discovered and are really pleased with). To wit: “No person shall dispose of radioactive wastes, hazardous wastes, or infectious wastes, as defined in NYCRR Part 360 Regulations, in the county.” 

The county’s radiation detector picked it up. “Yesterday, I had two loads going outbound... they were hot with some radiation,” Witkowski said. “So we’re working with the DEC currently. Rick Sauer and his staff reached out to the state police. They’re going to come out with some equipment and help us get some numbers on that.“

But county manager Josh Potosek said that it could well be medical waste.

County officials and Department of Public Works staff “are working to find out where it came from,” said Witkowski. ”It’s probably just medical waste like Josh said, but we want to make sure of that before we move down the road.”

Medical waste is considered low-level radioactive waste. (High-level is spent nuclear reactor fuel and mid-level is contaminated soil or debris after uranium mining. See Triumvirate Environmental’s post on the subject at www.bit.ly/nyradwaste51.) It can include waste from nuclear medicine, positron emission tomography scans, or radiology or personal protective equipment from handling radioactive materials.

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment