Landfill fires spark reminders of proper battery disposal
SHELBY COUNTY — Following two fires at the Carroll Landfill this past week, representatives at Carroll County Solid Waste are reminding residents to properly dispose of batteries.
Both fires originated from crushed batteries in a semi-truck load of garbage that was transported to Carroll County Solid Waste from one of the West Central Iowa Solid Waste Agencies.
Shelby County Solid Waste is one of four agencies in West Central Iowa forming the West Central Iowa Solid Waste Association. Recycling and garbage from Shelby, Crawford and Guthrie Counties are transported to Carroll County Solid Waste for management and disposal.
A fire driving down the road in the trailer of a 20 ton loaded semi would be catastrophic, and it is also problematic in the landfill, representatives said.
“Today’s batteries are longer lasting and rechargeable, which is convenient. But the materials used to make these batteries are toxic and flammable. When the battery casing is damaged or crushed, it’s just a matter of time before they explode” stated Mary Wittry, Director of Carroll County Solid Waste.
Wittry said these fires are dangerous for both landfill operators and local firefighters, as the chemicals released are quite toxic and the fires continue burning for weeks.
“It takes special means to smother a battery fire. Water will only increase and escalate the intensity of the battery chemicals, therefore it takes special means to smother a battery fire. Foam or dirt is usually used to cut off the oxygen to the flames.
The landfill requests the following batteries be disposed at the Shelby County Transfer Station in the Hazardous Waste Program. Disposal is free.
• Nickel/Metal Hydride (Ni-MH)
• Mercury/Silver Oxide
• Nickel-Cadmium (Ni-Cad)
Wittry said, “Our best defense against landfill fires is to keep batteries out of the trash, and in the Hazardous Waste Program at our local Transfer Stations.”
Please visit the website at www.westcentralsolidwaste.com or call the Transfer Station at (712) 755-5010 with any questions.