In the NEK Waste Management District, Batteries are a charged issue

LYNDON — In the Northeast Kingdom Waste Management District, batteries are a charged issue. During the NEKWMD Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, members raised safety concerns over lithium-ion battery disposal. Supervisors worry that battery fires and explosions will occur more frequently as greater amounts of larger lithium-ion batteries enter the waste stream. “We’re just going to keep getting more and more of these batteries, and bigger and bigger batteries,” said Corey Raynor, outreach coordinator for the waste district. Raynor is in the process of distributing grant-funded “battery incident kits” to NEKWMD facilities. The kits — which include safety goggles, high heat gloves, a fire blanket and a fire suppression pad — would allow transfer station staff to safely extinguish a smaller lithium-ion battery fire. However, Raynor said, the goal is for transfer stations to properly screen and store batteries so that a fire or explosion never occurs, and the kits are never required.