A Village of East Hills sanitation truck remains out of commission due to an exposure to radioactive waste, village officials announced Monday.
East Hills Mayor Michael Koblenz, in a phone interview with Blank Slate Media, said the truck has stayed at the Town of North Hempstead sanitation site in Port Washington, where the village disposes of waste, for the past couple of weeks. Meters that the town uses measured unusual radiation coming from the truck, where it has been parked.
Efforts to reach a representative from the town’s sanitation site for comment were unavailing.
Koblenz said the substance was not known because officials have not gone into the truck since meters indicated the high radiation levels. It is possible, he said, that a resident did not properly dispose of medications they were receiving.
“We don’t know what it is because we haven’t gotten to the truck,” Koblenz said. “The problem is that it was probably somebody getting medications and did not properly dispose of it and put it in their regular trash. That’s my guess, I don’t know for a fact.”
It is also possible that the radioactive waste may have some labeling or identification on it, Koblenz said.
The mayor said that the radiation levels of the truck, which still contains the existing garbage from weeks prior, will need to decrease by the end of this week or else the village will have to pay at least $6,000 to have the truck’s contents remediated before the vehicle is used again.
“We don’t know much more yet,” Koblenz said. “I’m trying to avoid spending $6,000 plus to see if the numbers go down. If they don’t by the end of this week, we’re going to wind up having to do it.”
Koblenz urged residents to dispose of any nuclear medicine, radioactive waste, hypodermic needles, and other potentially toxic materials properly through the village’s program held twice a year or through the Town of North Hempstead’s Shed the Meds events.