Safe disposal of household hazardous waste

On April 30, a canister containing a small amount of a common pesticide used to spray fruit trees was delivered in a load of garbage at the North County Transfer Station. When the garbage was compressed on the tipping floor, the container exploded, mixed with another hazardous household chemical, and released a toxic cloud. Three employees suffered symptoms ranging from skin irritation to vomiting. They were taken to local hospitals to be checked out and were later released to go home. 

While the investigation is underway, it is a good reminder that household hazardous wastes should NEVER be thrown away with garbage or recyclables.  

What is Household Hazardous Waste?

The Environmental Protection Agency considers some leftover household products that can catch fire, react, or explode under certain circumstances, or that are corrosive or toxic as household hazardous waste.

  • Any products that may be labeled "danger", "warning", or "caution"
  • Automotive products (oil, antifreeze, gasoline, etc.- limit 5 gallons per visit)
  • CFL and fluorescent light bulbs (limit 10 bulbs per visit)
  • Paints, except latex and water-based paints (limit 15 gallons per visit)
  • Batteries
  • Cleaning products
  • Herbicides, pesticides
  • Needles/syringes/sharps
  • Solvents (limit 5 gallons per visit)
  • Thermostats or thermometers that contain mercury

The waste needs to be in containers that are five gallons or less. Use the original container with the label intact whenever possible.

Recycling and Disposal of Empty Containers:

A container is empty when all contents have been removed by normal means, such as inverting and draining, shaking, scraping, or scooping. The container is considered empty when the following conditions are met: 

• Small containers (less than 119 gallons), are empty when no more than one inch or 3 percent of container volume remains.

• Large containers (greater than 119 gallons), are empty when no more than 0.3 percent of container volume remains. 

Aerosol Cans are a special kind of empty container because the contents are under pressure. Containers holding compressed gases are empty when the pressure inside the container is equal or nearly equal to atmospheric pressure. 

 

Once product has been removed you may rinse the container. Keep rinse water to a minimum. Containers which held acute hazardous waste or extremely toxic waste must be triple rinsed before they are disposed, reused, or recycled. Do not dump product or rinse water on the ground or down the drain. All hazardous waste mixed with rinse water must be put in a container, labeled and then taken to a Hazardous Waste Area at the Transfer Stations or the Waste to Energy-Facility.

Where to Drop Off Hazardous Household Waste:

The North and Valley Transfer Stations accept Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) on Saturdays and Sundays. The Waste to Energy Facility accepts HHW seven days a week.

  • North County Transfer & Recycling Station

N 22123 Elk-Chattaroy Road

(Intersection Elk-Chattaroy Road and Highway 2)

Winter Hours (November 1 through March 31): 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., 7 days a week.

Seasonal Hours (April 1 through October 31): 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., 7 days a week

Hazardous Household Waste is accepted on Saturday and Sunday only.

  • Valley Transfer & Recycling Station

3941 N Sullivan Road

(South of Trent across from Spokane Industrial Park)

Winter Hours (November 1 through March 31): 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., 7 days a week.

Seasonal Hours (April 1 through October 31): 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., 7 days a week

Hazardous Household Waste is accepted on Saturday and Sunday only.

  • Waste to Energy Facility Recycling Center & Disposal Site

2900 S Geiger Boulevard

(West of Spokane across from the Washington State Patrol)

Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., 7 days a week for all disposal.

For more information, go to http://www.spokanecounty.org/2632/Household-Hazardous-Waste, or call 509.477.6800.

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