Workers uncovered medical waste while sorting at the recycling center in the Ag Complex in Ottawa on Thursday. The Ottawa Police Department has been called in to investigate. (Photo submitted)
OTTAWA — An investigation is underway to determine who illegally dumped medical waste into a recycle container at the Ottawa site.
According to recycling coordinator Ashley Siefker, the workers at the recycling center in the Ag Complex in Ottawa made the discovery of the waste last Thursday, March 5.
“They called and said they had come upon the waste while doing the sorting,” Siefker said. She told them to stop everything and not to touch anything.
When the county officials went out to see what had been dumped into the recycling bin they discovered dialysis bags, needles, tubing and numerous other types of medical sharps including tubing systems, syringe and lancets.
Putnam County administrator Jack Betscher said the county was concerned about this illegal dumping because it had put innocent people at risk.
“Our sorters came upon this unexpectedly,” Betscher said. “It also contained unidentified fluids and at the time we did not know whether the fluids contained and drugs or contaminated body fluids.”
The Ottawa Police Department was called in Friday to do a complete investigation.
“Although he did not find any personal identification in the medical waste he did find serial numbers on the bags that are being traced,” Betscher said. “Officer John Mullins did a very complete investigation including taking pictures.”
Siefker said they are also reviewing the cameras at the site to help determine who did the dumping.
The investigation has been turned over to the Putnam County Prosecutor’s office who are researching what charges will be filed once the guilty party is determined.
“This is costing the county,” Siefker said. “We had to buy very expensive gloves to handle the waste and we will have to pay to properly dispose of this medical waste,” She also said the medical waste may have contaminated the remainder of the bin, possibly making it unusable for recycling.
Putnam County Commissioner John Love said his main concern was protecting the workers at the recycling center.
“They dumped waste that may be contaminated in these bins and this put our workers at risk,” Love said.
Source: Putnam County Sentinel