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City of Alexandria, VA City of Alexandria, VA
Fire Department
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Page updated Nov 21, 2008 9:54 PM

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For Immediate Release: November 15, 2008    
For Further Information, Contact Captain Luis Santano, 703.838.4339

Radiation Detected in Trash Truck

At approximately 11:44 a.m Saturday November 15, 2008, Alexandria Fire and EMS units responded to 5301 Eisenhower Ave (Covanta Energy) for a report of radiation coming from a trash truck. Upon arrival of the Hazardous Material Team it was confirmed that radiation was coming from the rear compartment of the trash truck.

 Covanta Energy’s radiation monitors alarmed as the trash truck entered the exterior inspection area. The truck was not allowed entry into the building and a thirty foot Safe Zone was established until readings were gathered and confirmed. The Hazardous Material Team confirmed low levels of radiation emanating from the trucks closed rear collection area, which contained the radiation. An isotope identifier was used to identify medical waste as the possible source of the radiation. The trucks owner will be handling cleaned up and disposal measures through an approved Hazardous Waste contractor.

The buildings limited staff was in the process of closing down operations for the day when the event occurred. Radiation monitors were used to rule out exposure to the truck driver. The low levels of radiation did not pose an immediate threat to employees or to the surrounding area.