Toxic discovery at tip a worry for fire crews

A DISTURBING discovery at Dorrigo's tip put fire crews on an emergency footing yesterday.

Bellingen Shire Council staff and the tip operator raised the alarm at about 9.15am when they stumbled upon a 1kg container of the highly toxic potassium cyanide at the Old Coramba Road facility.

Dorrigo Fire Brigade captain Mike Beaumont said the container had been dumped in a shed.

Six Dorrigo firefighters dashed to the scene, and they were supported by two Coffs Harbour fire officers who arrived with hazardous materials equipment.

Crews donned protective suits and breathing apparatus and sealed the container in an air tight and water tight drum, which will be collected by the relevant authorities for safe disposal.

The waste depot was closed to the public for an hour at the height of the emergency.

Mr Beaumont said potassium cyanide was once used in the area for dealing with pests such as rabbits and foxes, but it was now classified as a banned poison.

"A lot of old farming sheds do contain banned poisons," added Mr Beaumont. "To arrange for the proper disposal of hazardous materials, people should contact the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), their local council or the fire brigade."

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