Fire Officials Want More Homeowners To Dispose Of Hazardous Waste

Posted at 3:50 PM, Mar 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-25 23:48:35-04

Fire officials want homeowners to look through their bathrooms, closets, and garage to get rid of old and unused products classified as hazardous.

Improperly disposing of hazardous materials can be bad for the environment, and if they are not stored in appropriate places, they can make a fire even more dangerous.

"It does accelerate fires, and help them spread further, and release toxic fumes into the air when it's ignited," said Lt. Matthew Lupo of the Rutherford County Fire Department.

Officials with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation said hazardous items are considered flammable, corrosive, reactive, and toxic.

Items to dispose of include cleaning fluids, pesticides, mercury thermometers and thermostats, fluorescent lamps, lithium and button batteries, aerosols, adhesives, medications, brake fluid, swimming pool chemicals, paint thinner, and used needles in sturdy containers.

"If you are not going to use it or are done with it, we recommend you dispose of it properly," added Lt. Lupo.

In 2017, there was a total of 29 fires affected by hazardous waste in Rutherford County.

"However, this year we're already at 12, and we're only three months into the year. We are seeing speed of numbers coming through that are different from last year," said Rutherford County Solid Waste Spokesperson Hannah Bleam.

The county has organized an event in partnership with the state to collect household hazardous waste on Saturday, April, 7 from 8 a.m. to noon at the Murfreesboro City Solid Waste Department on Florence Road. There is a list of acceptable and unacceptable items.

TDEC's mobile household hazardous waste collection service travels to different counties across the state. More than 346,000 houses in Tennessee properly disposed of more than 22 million pounds of material since the program started in 1993.

There were 3,000 more pounds collected in the fall event compared to spring in Rutherford County.

"We're trying to make sure we're collecting more each collection day than we have the previous collection day," said Bleam.

To view collection dates in other counties, click on this link.

To learn how to safely dispose of dangerous household chemicals, click here