Radioactivity detected in medical waste from Springfield

Medical waste from patients undergoing cancer treatments triggered the alarms.

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield DPW’s was notified of radioactive substances in a load of trash Wednesday.

The material came from trucks making pickups in 16 acres in Springfield. “It’s a little irresponsible if you ask me,” said Gene Spear of Springfield. “But you can’t keep track of everybody.”

The radioactive material triggered alarms at a disposal facility in Agawam. The Covanta Waste to Energy Plant. Plant Workers monitor the trash stream, looking for a variety of issues and contamination, one of them is radiation. Any time the alarm sounds, the response costs Springfield $2,000.

It’s happened four times this year already. Springfield DPW Director Chris Cignoli told 22News the cost is only part of the problem.

“When everything stops there, we have to bring in consultants. we have to then get rid of the material, we have to have analyze it,” said Cignoli. “There’s a whole of host of things that go into it.”

Depending on the level or risk or danger, the facility could be forced to completely shut down. Cignoli said medical waste from patients undergoing cancer treatments triggered the alarms. Another trigger, was animal waste from pets being treated for cancer. In Springfield, there have been three instances of radioactive cat waste this year.

Cignoli said the DPW plans to visit doctors and veternarian offices to help better inform how to dispose of the material more safely.

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