Sanitation workers return to work after incident with chemicals

Some sanitation workers in Huntington are back on the job after a scary situation with chemicals.
Published: May. 23, 2023 at 7:50 PM EDT
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A City of Huntington Sanitation crew unknowingly picked up pool chemicals placed in a resident’s trash. When the chemicals were compacted in the garbage truck, the chlorine gas overcame the workers, who had to be taken to a local hospital for treatment, according to Mark Bates, the city’s director of Public Works.

Kyree Congleton was part of the crew who were injured.

“We don’t have X-ray vision, so we’ve got to roll with what people put in their trash or garbage,” Congleton said. “There wasn’t anymore room [in the truck.] Once we crushed it, all of a sudden there a white substance began pouring and bubbling out then a white fog pushed out. It got in my eyes. A coworker and I had trouble breathing.”

Congelton said he was off of work for about a week. His blurred vision has since corrected itself.

All three workers have returned to work since that incident. They hope it serves as a reminder to consider what you’re discarding or throwing away.

“Take care of us, and we’ll take care of you,” Congleton said.

To dispose of pool chemicals, a majority of pool supply stores will accept them. If they are unexpired, call and ask your neighborhood pool to take them.

The WVDEP does not hold an annual hazardous waste collection event but recommends to reach out to your county solid waste authorities.

A spokesperson also said, “Citizens can also reach out to their local waste hauler and coordinate proper disposal of these materials.”

“If it’s something you have a question about disposing of down your drain and or pouring out on your own property, then you probably should check on it,” Bates said.

Bates recommends if you have questions about garbage to call the Public Works office.