Trash Truck Incident

A Facilities trash truck was emptying the dumpster behind a research building. While compacting the load, they heard a pop, then smelled a very strong chemical odor. They spoke with a staff member at the building, who stated that the material smelled like acetone.

The trash truck personnel contacted DEHS. With the assistance of the trash truck personnel, DEHS was able to remove the suspect material as well as all contaminated debris. The material was bagged and analyzed shortly thereafter. The material was a mixture of chemicals, but the main constituent was Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK). MEK has a sweet odor similar to acetone. The material and personal protection equipment were managed through the University Hazardous Waste Program.


All chemical waste must be managed through the University's Chemical Waste Program. Improper disposal of chemicals place all University personnel, especially trash truck and Custodial personnel, at extreme risk for serious injury. It is very easy to have chemical waste removed from a laboratory. Simply contact DEHS to have the material removed. Please contact DEHS at x8475 with questions on the waste management process or to set up chemical waste training. According to Federal and State Law and University policy, all personnel who work with chemicals must be trained in proper chemical waste management.