Acid illegally dumped in West Falmouth, 2 hospitalized after exposure

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FALMOUTH — Two public works employees were taken to the hospital after being exposed to muriatic acid dumped illegally behind the West Falmouth shopping center at about 10:30 a.m. Monday.

The acid, which is highly corrosive and used in masonry cleaning, leaked out of a large recycling bin behind the plaza building and the two employees, who were cleaning up around the bin, breathed in the fumes.

“They were taken to Maine Medical Center and evaluated,” Falmouth Assistant Fire Chief Doug Patey said. “There were no lasting issues.”

The town employees, a man and a woman, were treated for respiratory issues and released later the same day.

Patey said less than a gallon of the substance leaked out and there was no damage to the property. Falmouth Fire and Rescue and HAZMAT teams from the Portland were called in to help with the cleanup, which took more than four hours, he said.

“We found two gallons. One full container inside (the recycling bin) and one partially empty,” Patey said.

Patey said that unless someone witnessed the illegal dumping, it is unlikely the culprit will be caught.

“It’s just a shame that someone could be so callous,” Patey said. “This could have really injured someone coming to recycle something, or our two employees.”

An access road to the plaza had to be closed during the clean up. The shopping center was not closed.

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or