Chemicals used in your home for cleaning, gardening, lawn care, painting or other purposes could have hazardous components. Always use household chemicals with care and dispose of them properly.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, Americans generate approximately 1.6 million tons of household hazardous waste a year, and a lot of this waste accumulates in basements or storage closets. Many people are unaware of the danger these chemicals pose to water quality, human health and sewage treatment systems.
Household hazardous wastes in our sewage treatment plants can poison microbes and bacteria that break down the constituents of waste water, undermining the ability of the plant to treat all of the wastes that it receives.
These wastes, when disposed of in surface waters or storm drains, destroy not only the aesthetic quality of our waterways and beaches, but also create a danger to aquatic organisms, wildlife and human health.
What can you do?
- Use household hazardous chemicals sparingly or not at all. Always use chemicals in accordance with instructions on the label.
- Search for alternatives that are non-toxic, non-hazardous, readily biodegradable, and/or have recycled content. These products are readily available at many grocery stores. Don't forget, you can always make your own cleaning solution with products you probably have in your cupboards!
- Always dispose of these products responsibly. Check with your town to determine when there will be a household hazardous waste collection day in your area. Most municipalities in Suffolk County have a "Stop Throwing Out Pollutants" or S.T.O.P. program, check our recycling page for disposal options in your town.
- Never dump household hazardous wastes down the drain or in a storm drain! Doing so endangers the quality of our surface waters, damages septic tanks, and wastewater treatment plants.
Another great place to implement some BMPs around your home is with your Roof Downspouts