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What are ‘Household Hazardous Wastes?’

People today are more aware than ever of the possible impact that everyday activities can have on the environment. They are paying close attention to the products they and their families purchase and use, and what happens to the containers after the product has been used up.

Household hazardous wastes are sometimes disposed of improperly by individuals pouring wastes down the drain, on the ground, into storm sewers or putting them out with the trash.

The dangers of such disposal methods may not be immediately obvious, but certain types of household hazardous wastes have the potential to cause physical injury to sanitation workers; contaminate septic tanks or wastewater treatment systems if poured down drains or toilets; and present hazards to children and pets if left around the house.

The process begins with understanding labels. Words that signal hazards are:

Toxic - can cause injury or death if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin; Flammable - easily catches fire and tends to burn rapidly; Corrosive - a chemical or its vapors that can cause a material or living tissue to be destroyed; and Irritant - causes soreness or swelling of skin, eyes, mucous membranes or respiratory system. Other words to look for on labels are: Poison, Danger, Warning and Caution.

On Saturday, Sept. 14, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and Anderson County Solid Waste Management will conduct a Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event.

This event will be held at the Oak Ridge Public Works Building (Central Service Complex) at 100 Woodbury Lane in Oak Ridge, located behind the Hobby Lobby shopping center, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

Materials that will not be accepted at the event are paint of any kind, electronics, empty containers, medical waste (except needles and sharps in puncture-proof containers), explosives, radioactive materials, as well as any wastes generated by large quantity generator commercial enterprises or agri-business. Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators are now eligible to participate at the mobile HHW/CESQG Collection Events by appointment only.

To request a price quote and schedule an appointment the CESQG may contact Clean Harbors Environmental Services at (615) 643-3170 with a waste inventory. You can also bring household hazardous waste for your friends and relatives who cannot attend the event. This State sponsored HHW Event is open to any resident of the State of Tennessee, and residents of other Counties are welcome to attend!

Oil-based paint and electronics are accepted on a year round basis at Anderson County’s Blockhouse Valley Rd. facility. Please contact Anderson County Solid Waste at (865) 463-6845 for hours of operation.

The Household Hazardous Waste Mobile Collection Service was established by the Solid Waste Management Act of 1991 to remedy improper disposal and to educate the public. This service is paid for by the Solid Waste Management Fund that receives its revenue from a surcharge of tipping fees from Tennessee Landfills and incinerators.

If you have any questions about the proper disposal of household products or want to know more about this Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event or other programs Anderson County Solid Waste Management has to offer, please contact Geoff Trabalka at (865) 463-6845.