Water Education - Water Quality

Solvents Poured Down the Household Drain May Cause Pollution

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This method is not recommended for people who have septic systems. Heavy concentrations of certain chemicals in a septic tank can destroy the microorganisms that make the system work properly. Call your local waste-water treatment plant before you flush hazardous household waste down the drain to be sure that the water can be neutralized by their system.

There are some recommendations to follow when disposing household chemicals. * There should be adequate ventilation in the area where you are flushing the waste. * Don't dispose of chemical wastes in the food preparation area. * Never mix chemicals together while pouring or when they are in the toilet or sink. * Pour slowly and carefully to avoid splashing. Wear gloves and goggles to protect eyes and hands. * Flush wastes using a large volume of water. * Rinse the empty container with water before placing it in the trash.

Save for a collection day. A community waste collection day is one way to manage hazardous household waste and keep it out of the landfill. The collection days are usually sponsored by a local government agency or a private organization. Residents are notified of the date, the drop-off location and the type of materials the program will accept. The collected wastes are recycled, treated or disposed of by a professional handler. If your city or county has such a collection day, use it. It is a good way to dispose of hazardous household wastes, such as automotive paint, brake fluid, dry cleaning fluid, engine degreaser, flea powder, epoxies and adhesives, photographic chemicals, paint supplies and thinners, solvent-based cleaners and polishes, mothballs, wood preservatives, gasoline, pesticides, swimming pool chemicals, lacquer and lacquer thinner, car batteries, kerosene, mercury batteries and smoke detectors. If there is not a collection program in your area, use the recommended disposal methods described earlier. Find someone who might use or recycle your waste. In the meantime, store these products safely! It would be difficult to eliminate all the hazardous products from our lives.

It's also wise to compare labels and contents when buying. If a less toxic product will work just as well, buy it. * Buying only what you need. If there is no waste, you don't have to store it or throw it away. * Using products according to label directions. * Using non-toxic alternatives. For example, clear a drain with a metal snake instead of a chemical drain opener. * Never mix products. Dangerous reactions can occur. Be a good citizen. Use and dispose of hazardous household waste responsibly. Call your County Extension Home Economics Agent or the local waste management agency, water treatment plant or landfill if you have questions. Make sure the disposal method you use is a safe one so that the hazardous waste does not contaminate your drinking water.

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