Town Plans Hazardous Household Cleanup Day

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The Town of Payson will hold its first-ever household hazardous products collection day from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 5 in the southeast corner of the Wal-Mart parking lot.

The event, which will be conducted by the town water and fire departments, with additional assistance from Wal-Mart employees and volunteers, will help residents safely dispose of unneeded, but potentially hazardous, household products. No commercial or industrial products will be accepted.

Household hazardous products that can be brought to the drop-off area include paint cleaners, gasoline, drain cleaners and chlorine bleach.

"It's basically any kind of product you find in the house or garage that is hazardous to the environment," said Jeff Durbin, town water resource specialist. "That includes paint, gasoline, batteries, all kinds of household cleaners, furniture cleaners and carburetor cleaners stuff you don't feel comfortable throwing in the trash."

Explosive materials, radioactive waste and medical waste are all excluded.

The town promotes newspaper and cardboard recycling at Wal-Mart and Green Valley Park collection sites, and local retailers accept motor oil, automobile batteries and nickel-cadmium batteries for recycling. Until now, however, residents had few choices when it came to disposing products such as cleansers, herbicides and pesticides. Most hazardous household products, Durbin said, are being thrown away in the Buckhead Mesa Landfill.

"We are also doing this to prevent people from simply disposing of these wastes by pouring them onto the ground or down the drain," he said. "We want to prevent contamination of our groundwater system."

Residents also will be able to take away usable products for reuse. Products such as unused motor oil, antifreeze, Round Up and other products will be made available at a special table.

funded by a $17,000 Arizona Department of Environmental Quality grant, an annual event.

"People will be able to save those kinds of products until the next event is held," Durbin said.

This year's event will be managed by Philip Services, a national company based in the Valley that specializes in household hazardous products collection. Based on figures from similar events, town officials expect to collect nearly 25,000 pounds of unwanted products during the day.

Participants should place their waste products in secondary containers to prevent spills on the way to the hazardous products collection site, said Frank Sanchez, Philip facility manager and coordinator of the Payson event.

"By using something like a plastic bag to hold the containers, materials won't get all over the carpet in your vehicle if they tip over in transit," he said.

Pesiticides that are unusable, canceled, suspended or legally restricted must be secured and disposed of at the household hazardous waste collection. Empty pesticide containers should be triple-rinsed and discarded with trash destined for the landfill.

Medical sharps, which are used in homes to administer medications such as allergy shots and insulin and to monitor blood sugar levels, should be disposed of by placing them in rigid, puncture-resistant, leak-proof containers sealed with duct tape. The containers should be placed with trash destined for the landfill.

If you go

Taking the following precautions can prevent accidents on the way to the household hazardous waste collection site:

1. Wear protective gloves when handling household hazardous wastes. Nitrile or chemical-resistant gloves are recommended.

2. Don't bring children or pets along to the collection site.

3. Keep products in their original containers. Don't mix products.

4. Label products that aren't in their original containers. Make every effort to identify unknown products by their brand names or categories, such as pesticides or cleaning products.

5. Check all containers. Make sure lids are tightly sealed.

6. If a container is leaking, place it within a larger, plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. A nonflammable absorbent, such as clay based cat-box filler, should be packed around the product to absorb leaks. Label the outside container with the contents and date.

7. Place products upright in cardboard boxes and secure them so they don't tip over during transport.

8. Transport products in the back of a pickup truck or in a car trunk. If you must transport the products in the passenger compartment, make sure there is adequate ventilation. Don't smoke while transporting hazardous materials.

9. Keep flammables out of direct sunlight and away from sources of heat, spark, flame or ignition.

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