AUBURN, Ind. – It is that time of the year where we are not really doing much outside on the lawn or in the garden.
You may however, be re-organizing and tidying up your garage or outbuildings after a busy summer of gardening, house or lawn maintenance. In doing so, remember to properly handle and if necessary, dispose of household hazardous waste (HHW).
To avoid the potential risks associated with household hazardous wastes, it is important that people always monitor the use, storage, and disposal of products with potentially hazardous substances in their homes. Improper disposal of HHW can include pouring them down the drain, on the ground, into storm sewers, or in some cases putting them out with the regular trash.
The dangers of such disposal methods might not be immediately obvious, but improper disposal of these wastes can pollute the environment and pose a threat to human health. Certain types of HHW have the potential to cause physical injury to sanitation workers, contaminate septic tanks or wastewater treatment systems if poured down drains or toilets. They can also present hazards to children and pets left around the house.
Some quick tips for the safe handling of household hazardous wastes include:
- Follow any instructions for use and storage provided on product labels carefully to prevent any accidents at home.
- Be sure to read product labels for disposal directions to reduce the risk of products exploding, igniting, leaking, mixing with other chemicals, or posing other hazards on the way to a disposal facility.
- Never store hazardous products in food containers; keep them in their original containers and never remove labels. Corroding containers, however, require special handling. Call your local hazardous materials official or fire department for instructions.
- When leftovers remain, never mix HHV with other products. Incompatible products might react, ignite, or explode, and contaminated HHW might become unrecyclable.
- Remember, even empty containers of HHW can pose hazards because of the residual chemicals that might remain so handle them with care also.
For more information locally residents are encouraged to contact Northeast Indiana Solid Waste Management at www.niswmd.org or call 260-587-3063 for more information on HHW management options and the disposal in DeKalb County.
Information contained in this educational article was obtained from the USEPA Environmental Topics website: epa.gov/hw/household-hazardous-waste-hhw.
For additional information regarding local environmental or storm water issues, contact Drew Wallace, program coordinator at the City of Auburn Water Pollution Control, 2010 S. Wayne St., Auburn, IN 46706 or by phone at 925-1714.