WOOLWICH, Maine — Brunswick HazMat units and local firemen responded to a Woolwich trash truck that mistakenly compressed a gallon of muriatic acid on Wednesday morning.
The jug of acid was placed inside a trash bag at the end of a Woolwich driveway, which led the garbage collector to believe it was just that, trash.
After the muriatic acid was tossed in the truck and compressed, the container broke open, releasing the harmful chemicals to mix into surrounding waste. Smoke began to release from the truck, causing the trash man to feel sick and pull over.
Woolwich Fire and Rescue was called to the scene on Hockomock Road once the container was found inside. Dispatch also notified the Brunswick HazMat team while the fire unit made its way over. The muriatic acid was neutralized by the team, placed in a sealed barrel, and removed from the scene.
Muriatic acid, also known as hydrochloric acid, is a fairly cheap chemical agent mostly used for household descaling according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Although it can be bought over-the-counter for $10, muriatic acid is harmful to human skin and can corrode some plastics and metals.
Glen Kirkpatrick, Deputy Chief of Woolwich Fire and Rescue warned against residents disposing of such chemicals through town trash companies, in a Facebook post.
"Please, don’t put things like this in your trash. This could have easily broken in the bag in someone’s home/basement/garage/vehicle and cause much larger damage or death," wrote DC Kirkpatrick.