Illinois EPA suspends household hazardous waste collections

Read the full story from NPR Illinois.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has announced a temporary suspension of all Household Hazardous Waste collection events and locations after a fire occurred at the current disposal facility in Ohio. Illinois EPA is working with the current contractor to evaluate alternatives for disposal.

Illinois EPA is suspending the scheduled one-day HHW collections planned for this fall, as well as the long-term HHW disposal facilities in Chicago, Naperville, Lake County, Rockford, and Madison County that Illinois EPA supports, until normal disposal operations can resume.

IEPA currently has a contract for the disposal of collected HHW, which disposes much of the collected waste at an incinerator located in Ohio. The Ohio facility had a fire in July, which required them to cease operations until specifically made parts can be shipped from Germany. It is estimated that the facility will not be operational until mid-November.

Household Hazardous Waste Removal: EPA Should Develop a Formal Lessons Learned Process for Its Disaster Response

Download the document.

What GAO Found

To remove household hazardous waste—some items that can catch fire, react, or explode under certain circumstances or that are corrosive or toxic—after the 2018 and 2020 California wildfires, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took steps that followed its emergency response policy. For example, EPA led coordination efforts between federal, state, and local agencies and established incident management teams. These teams developed plans for assessment, removal, transportation, and disposal of the waste. EPA removed waste from three counties in 2018 and seven counties in 2020. See figure below.

Examples of Household Hazardous Waste Removed by the Environmental Protection Agency after the 2018 and 2020 California Wildfires
Examples of Household Hazardous Waste Removed by the Environmental Protection Agency after the 2018 and 2020 California Wildfires

Following its wildfire responses, EPA conducted lessons learned activities, such as gathering feedback from staff to identify lessons and developing corrective actions. Lessons learned provide a method to share good ideas for improving work processes, quality, and cost-effectiveness. Key practices of a lessons learned process include collecting and sharing information on positive and negative experiences and developing and tracking corrective actions.

However, GAO identified additional lessons learned activities that may have been useful. For example, GAO found that EPA does not track corrective actions in a formal, centralized way, and EPA has not implemented all of the needed corrective actions. After the 2018 wildfires, for example, EPA found that it needed to develop a proposal to increase the number of EPA On-Scene Coordinators responsible for overseeing disaster responses, but the agency did not do so.

EPA conducts lessons learned activities on a case-by-case basis and does not have a formal lessons learned process in place for wildfire or other disaster responses that specifies when and what lessons learned activities should be conducted. The National Response Framework—which describes how the federal government, states, and others should respond to disasters and emergencies—states that planning for disaster response should include a feedback loop, including through lessons learned processes. Developing a formal lessons learned process that includes key practices, such as tracking corrective actions, will help EPA be better prepared to respond to future disasters, including those that involve removing household hazardous waste.

Why GAO Did This Study

In 2018 and 2020, California experienced record-setting fire seasons, resulting in the damage to or destruction of over 20,000 structures. EPA plays a significant role in responding to some wildfires and coordinates federal efforts to assist with the removal of household hazardous waste. Following a fire, EPA recommends special handling and disposal for these products, particularly if their containers are compromised.

The Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act, 2019, includes a provision for GAO to review a range of response and recovery issues following the 2018 disaster season. This report examines (1) the steps EPA took to remove household hazardous waste after the 2018 and 2020 wildfires in California and (2) the extent to which EPA conducted lessons learned activities following its wildfire responses. GAO reviewed relevant agency documents related to household hazardous waste removal after wildfires and applied criteria for planning lessons learned activities. GAO interviewed representatives from federal agencies, as well as state and local officials involved in the response to the 2018 and 2020 wildfires.

You Paid For It: Free household waste disposal program now available to Illinois residents

Read the full story at Fox2 Now.

Madison County is setting up a new household waste disposal program that’s free to all Illinois residents. Residents will be able to bring everything from oil-based paints to pesticides to cleaning solvents to lead-acid batteries to medicines to a new site in Wood River…

Collection days are the first Saturday and the third Friday of each month. The next appointment dates are Nov. 6 and 19 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Dec. 4 and 17 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. To schedule an appointment, visit the county’s website or call 618-296-5237.

Champaign County Household Hazardous Waste Collection scheduled for October 26; Online registration begins September 23

The online registration for the fall Illinois EPA-Sponsored One-Day Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event in Champaign County will open on Monday, September 23, at 8 a.m. The link to the online registration system is http://hhwevent.simplybook.me/. The collection event will take place on Saturday, October 26, in Champaign. Residents can find drop-off location information on the registration website.

This drop-off event is open to all Illinois residents. Residents must register for an appointment in order to attend. On September 23, residents can reserve one of the available 15-minute time slots between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Immediately upon reserving a time, a confirmation email and/or text message will be sent. The resident will also receive a postcard in the U.S. Mail five to seven days before the event which serves as their “ticket” into the event.

A complete list of household hazardous wastes that are and are not accepted is available online at https://www2.illinois.gov/epa/topics/waste-management/waste-disposal/household-hazardous-waste/Pages/acceptable-wastes.aspx

The online registration will remain open until all 15-minute time slots are full.

If residents need assistance registering for the event, they can contact Nichole Millage, Environmental Sustainability Specialist by email at recycling@champaignil.gov or call 217-403-4780.

Need to safely dispose of household hazardous waste? You’re in for a drive

Read the full story in the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette. See also my post from earlier this week on Illinois EPA’s household hazardous waste collection dates for this spring.

Note that all of the IEPA one-day collections accept the same materials. See the full list on their web site.

That old can of oven cleaner, the lighter fluid left over after you bought a gas grill, the rest of the pesticide that didn’t work so well to kill the ants — what do you do with all this stuff when you no longer need it?

Local governments are frequently asked where Champaign County residents can drop off household hazardous waste for safe disposal, and the answer is: There isn’t such a place.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency holds a limited number of one-day household-hazardous-waste collections in communities around the state each spring and fall.

But local officials said there hasn’t been a state-sponsored collection in Champaign County since 2012.

Permanent collection sites for hazardous household waste are also limited, and the only four of them in Illinois are clustered in the northern area of the state.

Illinois EPA Announces Spring 2019 Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events

Illinois EPA has announced scheduled household hazardous waste collections for Spring 2019. Illinois EPA holds household hazardous waste collections  to encourage residents to safely dispose of unused or leftover toxic products commonly found in homes.

Ten collection sites have been confirmed for the spring. IEPA is finalizing an  additional four locations. Details for the additional collections will be announced when they become available.

DATE LOCATION ADDRESS COSPONSOR(s)
March 23, 2019
(COMPLETED)
Gibson City
Ford County
115 S. Sangamon Ave.
Gibson City, Illinois
Ford County Soil and Water Conservation District
April 13, 2019 Brookfield
Cook County
Brookfield Zoo, North parking lot
8400 West 31st St.
Brookfield, Illinois
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago;
Brookfield Zoo
April 13, 2019 Griggsville
Pike County
Western Illinois Fairgrounds
516 S. Oak St.
Griggsville, Illinois
Pike County Economic Development Corporation
April 27, 2019 Effingham
Effingham County
Village Square Mall parking lot
South Banker
Effingham, Illinois
City of Effingham, Emergency Management Agency
May 4, 2019 Havana
Mason County
Neiman Foods
parking lot
504 S. Promenade St.
Havana, Illinois 62644
University of Illinois Extension, Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit
May 18, 2019 East Moline
Rock Island County
Rock Island County Fairgrounds
4200 Archer Dr.
East Moline, Illinois 61244
Rock Island County Waste Management Agency
May 18, 2019 Sparta
Randolph County
World Shooting and Recreation Complex
1 Main Event Ln.
Sparta, Illinois 62286
Randolph County
June 1, 2019 Cobden
Union County
Cobden Community Park
Locust Street
Cobden, Illinois 62286
Village of Cobden
June 8, 2019 Sycamore
DeKalb County
TBD DeKalb County Farm Bureau
June 15, 2019 Roanoke
Woodford County
Woodford County Highway Dept.
301 S. Main St.
Roanoke, Illinois 61561
Woodford County Health Department
June 29, 2019 Morrison
Whiteside County
Whiteside County Highway Dept.
18819 Lincoln Rd.
Morrison, Illinois 61270
Whiteside County
TBD East Dundee
Kane County
TBD Lebanon
St. Clair County
TBD Harrisburg
Saline County

Note:  One-day collections are open to all Illinois residents and operate from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on the above scheduled Saturdays.

What items can I bring for disposal?

Items that will be accepted include chemical cleaners, oil-based paints, thinners, antifreeze, motor oil, gasoline, kerosene, weed killers, insecticides and pesticides, old or outdated medication, and similar hazardous household products. Fluorescent and other high-intensity discharge lamps may also be brought to the collections.

Items not accepted include latex paint, explosives, propane tanks, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, agricultural chemicals and business wastes.

IEPA has a complete list of household hazardous wastes that are and are not accepted at http://www.epa.illinois.gov/topics/waste-management/waste-disposal/household-hazardous-waste/acceptable-wastes/index.

Are there year-round collection facilities?

The following long-term collection facilities are available for disposal of household hazardous waste throughout the year:

For questions concerning the Illinois EPA’s one-day or long-term collections, please contact the Waste Reduction Unit of the Agency at 217-524-3300.

Household Hazardous Waste Collection Schedules are also available on the Illinois EPA website at https://www2.illinois.gov/epa/topics/waste-management/waste-disposal/household-hazardous-waste/Pages/collections.aspx.

How do I schedule a collection event in my community?

If your community wants to host a collection event, download an application or apply online.

IEPA accepts applications each fiscal year, keeps them active indefinitely, and DOES NOT CHOOSE on a first come, first serve basis.

IEPA categorizes applications into potential large, medium or small events then ranks them by a point system based on certain criteria. They choose events each spring and fall by using the ranking system. They determine the number of collections based on available funding.

For more information, visit https://www2.illinois.gov/epa/topics/waste-management/waste-disposal/household-hazardous-waste/Pages/default.aspx.

Household hazardous waste collection event scheduled for Gibson City on March 23

Gibson City will be holding a household hazardous waste collection event on Saturday, March 23 from  8 am-3 pm. This event is open to all Illinois residents and is the closest scheduled option for those living in Champaign County.

hhw collection gibson city

How One Community is Educating its Residents on Proper Disposal of Home Medical Waste

Read the full story in Waste360.

When household medical waste—from sharps and tubing to IV bags—is improperly disposed of in recycling containers, it slows the work at materials recovery facilities (MRFs) and can put workers’ health in jeopardy.

Recently motivated by medical waste thrown into residential recycling carts, the Region of Peel, which provides waste management services in the cities of Brampton and Mississauga and in the Town of Caledon, in Ontario, Canada, reached out to remind its 1.4 million residents what constitutes household medical waste and sharps and how they need to properly dispose of them.

Improving Household Hazardous Waste Collection Options for East Central Illinois

The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center’s latest technical report, Improving Household Hazardous Waste Collection Options for East Central Illinois, assesses the current state of household hazardous waste (HHW) collection activity in Illinois and reviews the options in Champaign County as of January 2013.

It summarizes applicable federal and state regulations, best management practices related to HHW collection, and challenges associated with HHW collection in Champaign County. It also compares the costs of one-day collection events in Illinois and the costs associated with start-up, operation, and processing of permanent HHW collection facilities. Finally, it includes a preliminary “strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats” (SWOT) assessment for three potential options for Champaign County.

Spring Cleaning? National Library of Medicine Household Products Database can help

Spring cleaning?

The Environmental Protection Agency ranks indoor air pollution among the top environmental dangers.

Common cleaning products can contribute to this problem. Immediate effects of exposure to indoor pollutants can include headaches, dizziness, and fatigue, as well as irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, and exacerbated symptoms of asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

Learn what’s in these products, their potential health effects, and about safety and handling with the National Library of Medicine (NLM) Household Products Database (HPD).

HPD links over 15,000 consumer brands to health effects from Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) provided by manufacturers and allows scientists and consumers to research products based on chemical ingredients. The database is designed to help answer the following questions:

  • What are the chemical ingredients and their percentage in specific brand?
  • Which products contain specific chemical ingredients?
  • Who manufactures a specific brand? How do I contact this manufacturer?
  • What are the acute and chronic effects of chemical ingredients in a specific brand?
  • What other chemical information is available from the National Library of Medicine?

Explore the Household Products Database at http://hpd.nlm.nih.gov/.