County council urges thought over recycling after chemical dump evacuation

PUBLISHED: 16:30 06 May 2018

Exmouth recycling centre. Ref exe 18 18TI 2153. Picture: Terry Ife

Exmouth recycling centre. Ref exe 18 18TI 2153. Picture: Terry Ife

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People are being warned against dumping potentially 'suspicious or dangerous' items at Exmouth's recycling centre, after it was evacuated last week.

The facility, in Salterton Road, had to be closed for ‘a couple hours’ on Wednesday, April 25, after an unknown chemical was found in the main bay of the site.

The liquid was later found to be sheep dip which had been dumped at the recycling centre.

The site was evacuated to allow firefighters to deal with the incident.

A spokesman for Devon County Council, which owns and runs the recycling centre, said: “The chemical could have been safely deposited in the site chemical store, rather than irresponsibly causing this emergency.

“We would like to remind users of our recycling centres that, if they have unusual or potentially hazardous waste, they need to tell a member of staff.”

Fire appliances from Exmouth were called out at around 1.55pm to deal with what was believed to be a ‘chemical spill’.

A hazardous material officer and an environmental protection unit also attended.

A Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: “The crew successfully identified the substance and began to dilute the chemical with copious amounts of water into onsite interceptor drains following instruction from the hazardous material officer.”

DCC is warning people to talk to staff if they have any reason to believe what they are recycling could cause alarm.

Councillor Andrea Davis added: “These closures are avoidable, and waste the time of the emergency services, our staff and cause inconvenience to the public.

“Some might think the contents of an old chest in the loft or garden shed are harmless, but it’s a question of perception, and we have no choice but to put the safety of people first.

“So please, if you are planning to take something to the recycling centre, just think for a minute, is there a chance someone might think it’s dangerous?

“If the answer is yes, talk to our staff first - don’t just throw it in a bay.

“Otherwise it causes unnecessary disruption and, even more seriously, it can also put site staff at risk of injury.”

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