A trash truck leaking pool chemicals shut down a Scottsdale roadway last week and sent one city truck driver to hospital, highlighting the need for residents to properly dispose of hazardous chemicals.
The city had to close a portion of Miller Road between Oak Street and McDowell Road on April 8 after the chemicals began leaking from the back of the city solid waste truck.
Scottsdale firefighters determined the substance was pool chemicals picked up from a nearby residence.
The truck’s driver had to be transferred to a nearby hospital due to respiratory irritation from the chemicals.
According to the city’s website, certain types of waste cannot simply be thrown away in the trashcan because they may cause issues when mixed with other types of trash.
“Hazardous chemicals may cause a reaction when mixed with other solid waste material in a garbage truck, and can even become toxic or combust, jeopardizing the health and safety of our drivers and the public,” according to a statement from the city.
Scottsdale is not the only city that experienced a close call with hazardous materials in recent years.
According to a Facebook post on the city’s official page, a City of Mesa garbage truck had to pull over and unload hazardous material when a driver noticed smoke.
“This is what happens when flammable items are thrown into the trash…” read the post, which was accompanied by a photo of a pile of flaming debris.
A number of items found at many homes cannot be thrown in the garbage in Scottsdale, including household cleaners, car batteries, automobile engine fluids, gasoline, insecticides and pesticides, pool cleaners, oil and latex paints, solvents and spray paint.
A full list of prohibited items can be found at scottsdaleaz.gov/solid-waste/household-hazardous-waste.
The City of Scottsdale offers several options for residents that need to dispose of hazardous waste.
The city hosts an annual Drop-Off Yard event every year at 9191 E. San Salvador Drive. The 2019 drop off already occurred on March 2.
Residents can also sign up for home collection of hazardous waste. Collections take place on a semi-regular basis in the months of January, April, May, July, August, September, October and November.
Instructions to sign up for the hazardous waste home pickup program are on the hazardous waste page on the city’s website.
Registration is open to residential utility customers who pay for trash collection services and opens the first day of each collection month. The program is limited to 200 households a month on a first come, first served basis.
Residents are allowed up to three pickups per year for free, and each pickup is limited to 20 gallons.
A number of East Valley cities have taken steps to provide increased opportunities for residents to dispose of hazardous materials properly.
The City of Mesa opened a new hazardous waste facility in 2018 where residents can drop off items throughout from Wednesday to Friday.
The opening of the $3.9-million facility upped Mesa residents’ access to hazardous waste disposal services from 16 hours a year to about 20 hours per week, Mesa Environmental Services Director Scott Bouchie told the East Valley Tribune last year.
Tempe, Chandler and Gilbert all have similar facilities to serve their residents.
The Gilbert facility has been around for about 10 years and during that time, the amount of hazardous waste collected by the town more than doubled while its customer base more than tripled, according to East Valley Tribune.