The Haines Borough’s only waste disposal business is temporarily closed after an unknown chemical was released on site.
Community Waste Solutions manager Sally Garton said Wednesday afternoon that earlier that day, a chemical thrown away in a garbage bag became airborne when a machine ran over it.
Two employees were exposed to the substance and sent to the clinic. Garton said they were treated for burning eyes and throats but the impact did not appear to be serious.
Fire Chief Brian Clay said a toxicologist consulted by phone thought the chemical could have been an organic phosphate, such as fertilizer.
Clay said he does not believe there is a risk to the community because the spill is isolated to a small area.
Garton said the landfill is shutting down in order to clean up the potential contamination. She said they expect to reopen Friday.
That leaves Haines residents without a trash disposal option for at least a day and a half. Community Waste Solutions became the lone garbage disposal business in town after Acme Transfer closed last year.
Interim Borough Manager Brad Ryan said the municipality does not have a back-up plan for trash hauling. He said if the closure were to last longer, CWS could set up a transfer station off-site to collect waste.
This story has been updated.