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EPA Set to Finish Collection of Hazardous Household Materials in Puerto Rico, April 13

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April 4, 2018

As EPA continues transition from response to recovery in its work to respond to Hurricane Maria, its collection of household hazardous waste is being phased out. EPA worked closely with FEMA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the government of Puerto Rico, and local municipalities to collect, using a combination of curb-side pick-up and household waste collection days, a total of nearly one quarter of a million items. The volume being collected has decreased dramatically and the need for this service is coming to an end. The EPA, working with local government officials, will finish its island-wide, final sweep of hazardous household waste in many areas of Puerto Rico on April 13, 2018.  Special one-day collection events in select locations are being arranged by the EPA through April 22.

“The EPA’s work is transitioning from immediate response to long term recovery and our household hazardous waste program throughout Puerto Rico has helped many people properly dispose of potentially hazardous items they may have stored in their homes,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “The success of this program is a good illustration of the importance of cooperation and coordination in all levels of government to work toward a common goal: protecting the health of the people of Puerto Rico.”

EPA updates its list of collection events in local municipalities on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/eparegion2

EPA is collecting household hazardous waste, electronics, and abandoned or “orphan” containers, which include drums, tanks, containers, and cylinders that were found floating in or near water bodies. In Puerto Rico, about 248,100 drums, propane tanks, cylinders and other containers have been collected to-date and prevented from reaching Puerto Rico’s landfills.

 

EPA hazardous household waste team at Toa Baja, Puerto Rico.
Photo courtesy of U.S. EPA

 

Hazardous household waste includes aerosol cans, household cleaners and chemicals, paint and electronics such as computers and televisions. Domestic hazardous materials also include batteries, which have become a major concern due to the large volume of batteries used by residents who do not have electrical service. Household hazardous waste should not be thrown away with regular trash as it can contaminate the land, bodies of water and groundwater.

 

Examples of Household Items that are Hazardous

 

In the majority of municipalities in Puerto Rico, there are collection centers for hazardous domestic waste, where residents must leave their hazardous materials. To know more details about specific collection centers, residents should contact their municipality.

 

 

Household hazardous waste collection pad in Manati.
Photo courtesy of U.S. EPA.

View of EPA’s hazardous waste pad in Salinas.
Photo courtesy of U.S. EPA.

 

For questions about EPA’s collection of household hazardous waste in Puerto Rico, call the EPA toll free line at 888-283-7626.

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