Hazardous items spark landfill fire

  • Published
  • By Starling Ervin
  • Air Force Flight Test Center Ground Safety
All trash collected on Edwards, from both military family housing and industrial facilities, is dumped at the Landfill Baling Facility. 

There, the trash is screened for hazardous items, like large metal objects, lumber, concrete and other harmful materials that could cause injury to personnel or damage the nearly half-million dollar baling machine. However, sometimes hazardous materials get past the screening process. 

On Aug. 15, the landfill received a large load of lithium manganese dioxide batteries placed in cardboard boxes in a load of trash. The boxes of trash containing the batteries were dumped into the hopper of the baling machine. When compressed, some of the batteries exploded and caught fire, immediately filling the building with heavy and potentially dangerous smoke and causing an evacuation of the facility. 

Thanks to the quick response by landfill personnel and the Edwards Fire Department, damage to the machine was avoided and no one was injured. 

Team Edwards can help prevent serious personnel injuries, costly property damage and environmental fines by disposing hazardous waste legally and properly. 

Other illegal or hazardous items received regularly in the trash are televisions, computers, monitors, fluorescent lights, miscellaneous electronics, car batteries, tires, flammable liquids and propane tanks.

For more information, call the Environmental Management Hazardous Waste program manager at 277-1475 or 277-1401 or the landfill at 277-DUMP.