A garbage collection worker suffered a serious injury on an Armstrong route due to improperly disposed hazardous waste items Tuesday, May 26, 2020. (Stock photo)

Improper waste disposal leaves Okanagan worker with serious injury

The city’s waste collection contractor has seen two incidents of improper disposal in as many weeks

In the past two weeks, the City of Armstrong’s waste collection provider has dealt with two incidents of improper hazardous waste disposal, with one incident leading to a serious injury.

On May 19, a waste collection worker was placing a garbage bag into a disposal vehicle. The bag turned out to contain exposed needles, according to Community Services Manager Warren Smith.

“There were no caps put on the needles, they weren’t contained, so someone didn’t take appropriate measures to dispose of them properly,” said Smith, who added that needles can be properly disposed of through Interior Health. The Armstrong Veterinary Clinic can also help dispose of needles used for animals.

“Thankfully in that situation the worker was not injured and we were able to contain them,” Smith said.

The same could not be said for the second incident, which took place on Tuesday, May 26. A worker was collecting a garbage bag that contained a glass neon tube. Shattered glass left the worker with serious injuries requiring hospitalization, according to the City of Armstrong.

The incident forced the cancellation of collection for the remainder of the day, impacting several hundred residents, the city said.

Smith said the city’s garbage collection contractor has not released the extent or nature of the injury at this point in time.

The city offered a reminder to residents that hazardous materials can cause extensive injury when hidden in garbage bags. Such items include, but are not limited to, neon light bulbs, broken glass, needles or sharp objects and corrosive or toxic liquids.

“It it is in your garbage, you must ensure that there is no risk to others and it is a permitted item,” the city said. “Please check with your service provider or the city if you are not sure of how to dispose of hazardous materials.”

READ MORE: Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen no longer accepting recycling bags in rural areas after July 1

READ MORE: Over Zoom, Armstrong council seeks new meeting space


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
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