Maintenance and costly upgrades have prompted Fort Detrick officials to halt the incineration of both medical and municipal waste at the Frederick post.
According to a news release from the U.S. Army Garrison Fort Detrick Public Affairs Office issued on Thursday, the incinerators had various components produced by multiple manufacturers, which posed a challenge to day-to-day operations and maintenance. That along with the cost of making upgrades to ensure compliance with state regulations and to meet what the release described as “stringent” monitoring requirements spurred officials to close down the operations.
With the incinerators closing, municipal waste, or general trash, will go to the Fort Detrick landfill and be buried instead of burning and converting it to ash. The new procedure, the release said, will shorten the longevity of the Fort Detrick landfill, which is reportedly expected to reach capacity in about 10 years.
Nick Minecci, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Garrison Fort Detrick Public Affairs Office, said medical lab officials will now dispose of the medical waste themselves in compliance with all federal and state regulatory requirements. The release said a number of safety precautions are in place, including pre-treatment of laboratory materials and packaging and securing shipment to a final disposal site.
Detrick officials will continue to explore options for municipal waste disposal, including a possible agreement with Frederick County for short-term waste disposal, while other long-term disposal options are considered and approved. Minecci said he does not know how long the processes will take.