High levels of radiation detected in Hot Springs sanitation truck, no danger to public

Local News

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – The Federal Bureau of Investigations determined there is no danger to the public after high levels of radiation were detected in a Hot Springs sanitation truck. Just before noon Tuesday the sanitation truck was at a landfill in Saline County when it was turned away due to the radiation levels. The driver took it back to Garland County and parked it at the fair grounds far removed from the community to do further testing.

There are two types of radiation, medical and industrial. The danger to the public is with industrial radiation.

“Is it Plutonium, something along the lines of that,” Hot Springs Police Department Corporal Joey Williams said.

First the Hot Springs Fire Department’s hazmat team was called in to test the load and determine which kind they were dealing with.

“The Fire Department determined there was a higher level of radiation than normal. We got an isotope reading that couldn’t determine if it was medical or industrial,” Cpl. Williams said.

With no official answer, the FBI came in for more testing and it was determined it was medical waste.

“Most people who are on cancer treatments or any kind of radiation therapy their used equipment can set off those kind of readings,” Cpl. Williams said.

While it isn’t common, it does happen when those items are not disposed of properly. The truck was then taken to a more secure location where it will sit until the radiation levels go down. When those levels do drop it can then be taken to the landfill and be disposed of.

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