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Blasting caps shut down dump

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ARLEE — An illegally dumped, tangled mess of unexploded blasting caps, forced the temporary closure of the North Valley Creek Container site on April 2. 

The first batch of caps were found by staff in a dumpster at the site on April 1, according to Lake County Solid Waste Manager Mark Nelson. The caps and connected wires filled a large garbage bag and were removed by the Lake County Office of Emergency Management. 

Another, smaller bunch of the caps were found at the site the next day. 

“Two days in a row is just not kosher,” Nelson said of why the site was closed. In 14 years of working in the waste management office, Nelson had never encountered explosive devices mixed with garbage. He didn’t worry much about the immediate impact of an inadvertent blast. Secondary fallout was the main concern. 

“The explosion could start a fire and we don’t know what’s all in there,” Nelson said. “Even household chemicals can be flammable.” 

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office was called to investigate the scene. Nelson didn’t have any leads on who dumped the caps.  

Nelson said a sign on the property explains what types of garbage are accepted at the site and what types aren’t. 

People with questions about where to dispose of questionable materials can call the county’s office at (406) 883-7223 for answers. It is staffed every day from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m.

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