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Medical waste spilled

September 07, 2000

Medical waste spilled



By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer


LEITERSBURG - Used dental needles, cotton swabs, used paper towels, soiled surgical gloves and notes with patient information fell off a waste hauler's truck along Leitersburg Pike Thursday evening, Maryland State Police said.

Police were notified of the spill by a resident who had noticed the debris on his property and along the shoulder of the road near Hagerstown Cinema 10, Cpl. B. L. Townes Jr said.

The waste, which was from Potomac Dental of Hagerstown, was not in one specific area but was strewn along both sides of the highway.

Townes said the resident told them he had cleaned up some of the debris but wasn't going to continue because there was too much.

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The wind blew the debris into a nearby pasture where some of it was eaten by cows, said Townes.

About 20 rescuers from Long Meadow Volunteer Fire Co. and Washington County Special Operations Team spent 90 minutes picking up the waste and placing it in heavy-duty plastic bags, said Capt. Kevin Kotanko, of Special Operations.

The crews filled about six or seven bags and the waste was taken to Washington County Hospital, which would dispose of it, he said.

Rescue crews wore double gloves and took special care with the sharp objects, he said.

Smithsburg Dentist David Williams said it is required that dental waste be disposed of by certified waste haulers.

He said a hauler typically will pick up the refuse at a dental office in a closed truck and take it away to an approved waste site.

Syringes, scalpels and other sharp objects should be in sealed plastic containers, he said.

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