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Hazardous Waste Project

San Juan County's first hazardous waste collection ("round-up") was held in 1989, yielding an unexpectedly high 23 tons of toxic, flammable, corrosive, and reactive chemical waste from island households and businesses. As of the end of 2010 the county's Hazardous Waste Project has collected over 342 tons of waste chemical products that were safely transported by certified contractors to the mainland for proper disposal.

Collections on San Juan, Orcas, Lopez, Waldron and Shaw Islands are announced in local newspapers and on our web page as they are scheduled. Please call in your questions to Helen Venada, Hazardous Waste Coordinator, 360-370-0503.

As of January 1, 2011 households are charged a minimum fee of $12.00 for up to 200 pounds of hazardous waste (the equivalent of about 25 gallons); quantities over 200 pounds will cost $.06/pound. *Since most latex paints are not designated as "hazardous," residents are encouraged to either evaporate or solidify their unusable latex paint with sawdust for regular solid waste disposal. As an alternative, the HHW project accepts latex at $2.00 per gallon at this time.

Island small quantity generating businesses (SQG's) are invited to participate in annual or semi-annual disposal events at substantially lower cost than if they were to individually manage their hazardous waste. Businesses are currently charged $5 per gallon or $270 per 55-gallon drum. SQG's receive notice of collection dates by phone, news releases and this web page.

Tips on preparing for a hazardous waste collection:

PLEASE do not mix any flammable, toxic, corrosive, or reactive wastes in with your regular garbage. This can put our facility attendants at risk and is restricted by the current landfill contract.

These suggestions are offered for clean-up of your home storage areas:

 Inventory all indoor and outdoor storage areas at your home or business; wear chemical-resistant gloves and old clothes;

 Ventilate the area very well to reduce exposure to chemical dust or fumes; at a minimum, wear a particle (dust) mask, especially if containers are open, and do not smoke within 50 feet of chemicals (the tip of a lit cigarette is 600° hot and could ignite flammable vapors!);

 Store usable products safely for future use (e.g. flammables away from the rest and at a safe distance from heat sources; keep all hazardous products out of the reach of children or pets); assure that usable products left on shelves will not fall off in the event of an earthquake;

 Recycle motor oil, antifreeze, and vehicle batteries at your recycling center before the collection event;

 Give away reusables you don't want;

 Open unusable latex paints to dry out or to mix with sawdust or kitty litter to solidify for regular trash disposal;

 Do not mix any chemical wastes together; keep products in original labeled containers;

 Consolidate paints to save space and staff handling time (i.e. add contents of partially-full cans together to create full ones);

 Re-label unknowns, as much as possible, based on available knowledge; never sniff or touch chemicals to identify unknowns;

 Store "leakers" inside larger, secure containers;

 Package unwanted poisons, flammables (including oil-based paint and stain wastes), corrosives (acids and bases), and other hazardous waste, placing like materials in plastic-lined containers for transport;

 Wash exposed skin and fingernails, using lots of water and soap; remove exposed clothing for laundering.

 Please notify the Project at 370-0503 if you will be delivering drums or other large containers to a collection.

Please, pat yourself and your helpers on the back for rounding up a potential personal and environmental health threat…and for protecting our sensitive marine environment from pollution.

Make it a family project to learn about everyday chemicals and to teach everyone in your household to read labels carefully (and respect the warnings)--before bringing chemicals home.

If you try to make wise purchases in the future, by buying only as much paint or garden chemical as the job calls for and by choosing the least toxic product to do the job, you’ll be reducing the hazardous waste your household or business generates.

Thanks for your cooperation and continued support.

Helen Venada
Waste Reduction and Hazardous Waste Coordinator
San Juan County Solid Waste Division
P.O. Box 729
Friday Harbor WA 98250
360-370-0503
helenv@sjcpublicworks.org

Conserve energy and resources every day…at home, at work, and at play!