Flood Preparation: Special, no-cost pesticides collection

Date: December 4, 2009
Contacts: Mike Louisell, WSDA 360-902-1813; Or: Doug Williams, King County 206-296-8304

Special, no-cost pesticides collection for farmers and small businesses preparing for floods.

Flood season is here in western Washington, and it’s a good time to check storage sheds, garages, basements or warehouses for pesticides or other chemicals that are no longer wanted or needed.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) and the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program (LHWMP) in King County are partnering to help farmers, landscapers, property managers and other businesses safely dispose of unwanted pesticides, including phased out, canceled and unwanted chemicals.

Properly managing pesticides and other chemicals before flooding hits a community helps prevent contamination of property, soil, groundwater and surface waters. Contaminated buildings and property are a threat to residents, neighbors, emergency responders and livestock, and they are expensive and difficult to clean up.

To dispose of unwanted agricultural and commercial-grade pesticides, contact WSDA at 360-902-2056 or by e-mail to: wastepesticide@agr.wa.gov.

WSDA provides free disposal of agricultural and commercial-grade pesticides from farms and other businesses. The Wastemobile at the Auburn SuperMall and the hazardous waste facilities at Factoria, North and South Seattle will dispose of chemicals other than commercial grade pesticides from qualifying businesses at no additional fee. In addition, King and Pierce counties provide free household hazardous waste disposal for residents, including home garden chemicals.

WSDA is flexible to customers’ needs to collect unwanted pesticides:

• Depending on demand, WSDA staff will travel to a customer’s site and assist with the handling, packing and collection of agricultural and commercial-grade pesticides.
• If the demand for on-site service is too high, collection points will be set up for specific days and customers can transport their pesticides to a site.
• Businesses and farms disposing of pesticides through the WSDA do not need to be hazardous waste generators or certified pesticide applicators. Pesticide disposal is open to anyone with unwanted agricultural or commercial grade pesticides.
“We are being flexible to respond to customers’ needs, and are willing to go to customer locations to provide direct service,” said Joe Hoffman, WSDA program coordinator.

“This is a good partnership to share our disposal information with veterinarians, farmers, feed stores and other agricultural and small businesses – many of them in King County flood zones,” added Jay Watson, Local Hazardous Waste Management Program administrator.

Disposal information for King County businesses with other chemicals is available by calling the Business Waste Line at 206-263-8899; toll free 800-325- 6165, ext. 3-8899, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. (closed noon -1 p.m. and holidays).

To use household hazardous waste facilities, businesses must qualify as a small-quantity generator of hazardous waste and list each hazardous waste and the amounts, and complete a follow-up survey.

King County residents can contact the Household Hazards Line at 206-296-4692, or 1-888-TOXIC-ED Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., except holidays.

Pierce County residents can dispose of their household hazardous waste free of charge at the Hidden Valley Transfer Station or the City of Tacoma Household Hazardous Waste Facility. Contact the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s Hazardous Waste Hotline at 1-800-287-6429 or visit www.co.pierce.wa.us/pc/services/home/environ/waste/hazardous.htm#listed.

“This welcome service is the responsible solution for those needing to discard unwanted, outdated or banned agricultural and commercial-grade pesticides,” said WSDA Director Dan Newhouse. “It protects public health, our local environment and helps farmers and other users avoid the expense of disposal or cleanup projects.”

There are many reasons why someone may have pesticides they no longer want. Lots of older pesticides have been canceled by the federal government, while some landowners may no longer farm their land, or may have purchased property with leftover pesticides.

Some growers have changed farming practices with new crops, switched to organic farming or now have better or safer control products. Others may have been storing pesticides that are in bad condition or without necessary labeling.

For more information on flood preparation, visit www.kingcounty.gov/floodplans.