Albany - A hazardous waste scare in Dawson Thursday. Several 55-gallon drums were found behind a building downtown, and gave off an odd-scent. Concerned citizens called police, and about 100 other drums were found dumped down the road. Now, the Environmental Protection Division is investigating.
It first started here. People in this building on 5th Avenue in Dawson were cleaning out a building, moving large drums outside. They gave off a strong scent, like a paint solvent. That's why the EPD was called out.
"There were some unusual odors coming from a building in downtown Dawson," said Advanced ecologist Edwin Williams. Once he got to the building, he learned about this site, where more barrels had been dumped.
"When we do a complaint inspection," said Williams, "the first thing is go to the site, do an inspection, photograph what we see, take it back to the office and establish at our office with our managers what the next step will be."
Williams says it doesn't appear the drums, and their contents are an immediate health hazard, just possibly an environmental one. In addition to the barrels, most of which are empty, the site also has trailers on it that are filled with rags. They appear to be covered with nothing more than paint.
But looks can, of course, be deceiving, and Williams say further tests may be conducted. "If barrels have contents, that could include testing the contents of the barrels. Looking at least in this area where the drums are on the ground, looking on the ground to see if there are releases, there will probably testing of the ground."
And ultimately find answers, like who the barrels belong to, what was inside, and why they were dumped here.
Geologist Edwin Williams says because the drums were mostly empty when they were dumped, fumes will quickly dissipate and should not cause any breathing problems.