Rutherford County Solid Waste has warned residents of the dangers of discarding helium tanks in household trash, following an explosion at Rutherford County’s Weakley Lane Convenience Centre at the weekend.

On Saturday 1st August, a helium tank that was hidden within a regular bag of household trash made its way into the trash compactor and exploded upon impact.


Source: Rutherford County Solid Waste

The debris from the tank were scattered up to 100 feet away from the compactor.

Commenting on the explosion, Mac Nolen, Solid Waste Director, said, “As busy as our Weakley Lane location stays, it’s amazing that no one was injured. 

“The explosion gave the centre attendant running the compactor quite a scare though, and his ears are still ringing from the bang.”

Following the events, Nolen said that if residents aren’t going to take the time to empty the tank, they have to ensure it is taken to an appropriate recycling centre. 

According to “Balloon Time,” the manufacturer of the tank that exploded, the following are the proper measures for emptying the tank: 

  1. Ensure your tank is completely empty by pushing down on the black nozzle.
  2. Unscrew the black nozzle from the tank.
  3. Put on safety glasses and gloves.
  4. Using a hammer and screwdriver, knock out the round disk at the back of the tank.
  5. Draw a circle around the knocked out portion of the tank and mark it as “EMPTY” with a permanent black marker.
  6. Place the empty tank in the recycle bin or drop it off at a local recycling centre.