Unwanted chemicals – what is the safe way to dispose of them?

Advice and resources to help King County businesses and residents dispose of chemicals

A recent incident during which the Kent Fire Department’s Haz-Mat team and the state Department of Ecology safely disposed of a pickup truck load of old laboratory chemicals offers a lesson in proper hazardous waste disposal.

The lab jars turned up at a dumpster in Kent and a concerned citizen collected them in her truck and took them to the Kent Police Department. This potentially dangerous situation could have been avoided with safe disposal of unwanted chemicals.

“If you find what appears to be abandoned chemicals, don’t touch them”, recommends Kyle Ohashi, Captain with the Kent Fire Department. “Call 9-1-1 to report what you found and keep other people and animals away”.

The Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County offers technical and disposal services to businesses that have hazardous wastes. Call the Business Waste Line at 206-263-8899, or toll-free at 1-800-325-6165; ext. 3-8899.

Businesses that handle or generate small quantities of hazardous materials can start by calling for advice or request technical visits. Field staff can provide advice on waste minimization, regulatory assistance and disposal. Work or equipment businesses put into practice related to hazardous materials management or disposal can qualify for cash reimbursement. Qualifying businesses can also use the household hazardous waste facilities to dispose of hazardous wastes, for no additional disposal fee.

“Our technical teams have visited all the schools in the city of Kent and the Kent School District and removed the old unneeded chemicals,” adds Dave Waddell, Rehab the Lab project manager. “Sometimes a retired chemist, chemistry hobbyist or science teacher passes on and their family does not know how to dispose of the chemicals in the basement. This has happened often enough in Seattle that we offer a training topic called Bombs in the Basement.”

The Local Hazardous Waste Management Program is a partnership of local governments including Seattle, King County and the Suburban Cities, working together to manage hazardous wastes and protect health and the environment. Visit us at http://www.lhwmp.org.