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Radiation Detected In Trash Truck

Alexandria Fire Department's Hazardous Materials Team was summoned to Covanta Energy, 5301 Eisenhower Ave., on Saturday, Nov. 15, after a report that a trash truck was emitting radiation. Upon arrival the team confirmed that radiation was coming from the rear compartment of the privately owned trash truck.

Covanta Energy's radiation monitors went off as the truck entered the exterior inspection area. The truck was prevented from entering the building and placed in a Safe Zone until readings were gathered and confirmed, according to Capt. Luis Santano, public information officer, Alexandria Fire Department.

Low levels of radiation were confirmed by the team to be coming from the truck's closed rear collection area, Santano reported. An isotope identifier was used to locate medical waste which was ultimately determined to be the source of the radiation.

Building staff was in the process of ceasing operations for the day when the event occurred. Radiation monitors were used to rule out any exposure to the truck driver. The low level of the radiation posed no threat to either Covanta employees or the surrounding area, according to Santano.

The private trash collection company will be responsible for clean up and disposal of the hazardous materials through the use of an approved hazardous waste contractor, Santano reported.