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Chemical Disposal

Summary: Chemical dosposal becomes a problem when we discover a gallon of toxic bug spray hidden deep in a corner of a garage. Learn the proper way to handle pesticide products to prevent pesticide pollution.

We are all guilty of harboring some old pesticide products that are no longer attainable on the market. œMan! If only I had a gallon of Chlordane I would blast those termites to kingdom come. Pesticide laws are strange because a homeowner will use a banned product if he has it handy, while a licensed pest control person would face a fine and possible jail time for doing the same. The laws are made to protect the consumer and the environment from commercial applications, but the laws cannot protect the consumer from himself/herself.

We discover a perfectly good can of Diazinon or Dursban and we are off to the races. œWow! At last I've got something to control aphids. We mix up a batch and apply it per the label. Later, however, we get guilty consciences and decide we had better get rid of the stuff before we are tempted to use it again. So, we dump it down the sewer.

Downstream at the Metropolitan Sewer plant the monitoring devices go crazy when our little dumpsite material hits their collection area. Checking incoming waste water at parts per billion or trillion, the meters spin off their dials as the toxic material slides through their filtration system.

Any sewer department would prefer to see us use our old pesticides in a manner directed by the label, rather than dumping it in a sewer or toilet. The pesticide may not be approved for use any longer, but applying it sure beats throwing it into our water supply. Even the most hardcore environmentalist would agree.

Now, the legal way to handle the disposal of chemicals is by taking your pesticides to hazardous waste collection program site sponsored by local solid waste management agencies. Most municipalities operate these sites at certain times of the year. The sites will take small quantities of pesticides from homeowners. They usually will require some form of identification that proves you are a local resident. Businesses are not permitted to utilize these sites and may be required to hire a licensed hazardous waste contractor to take the materials.

The wrong thing to do is ignore the pesticide container for several reasons. Many old containers are cans which can eventually rust and leak. How often do we stack our old cans of materials against garage walls, only to discover that the bottoms of the cans have been subjected to water percolating through foundation walls. What a mess! The other reason we don't want to ignore these cans is because they can be discovered by curious children or pets, leading to irreversible disasters.

Do the right thing! Look for old pesticide containers and take action.

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