Nashville, TN -- Officials are cautioning Tennessee's disaster victims against careless disposal of hazardous wastes they find in the debris generated by the severe storms that swept the state in May.
Household wastes include contaminated gasoline and oil and items such as floor cleaners, bug spray, drain cleaner, leftover paints and varnishes and similar household chemicals. They are to be disposed of only at authorized collection sites.
Although people use these items safely under normal circumstances, they are toxic and can become deadly if dispersed by a disaster where they could fall into the hands of children who do not understand the danger. Household hazardous wastes should never be left for disposal at the curb or anywhere within reach of children or pets.
The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency is working with local governments and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to arrange locations for the safe collection of household hazardous wastes. Stay tuned to your local radio stations or check your newspaper for a collection site near you.
Meanwhile, please separate household hazardous wastes and store them in a safe place until you can remove them to a collection site. Never burn them or dump them in any body of water.
Here are some other tips for safe debris removal:
Refrigerators/freezers - If you have an old refrigerator or freezer with a locking door, remove the door so children can't lock themselves inside. With the door removed, the appliance can be safely put curbside for pickup.
Garbage - Separate garbage (food waste, paper waste) from household items such as flooring, carpet, furniture, drywall and small appliances. Separating the garbage will help ensure that it goes to the right place in a landfill.
For more information call your local emergency management agency.