Milestone reached in hurricane hazardous waste
In mid-December, the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency announced that an estimated one million containers
of household hazardous waste have been recovered from areas damaged
by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
This milestone is significant
given that the hazardous waste collected from homes in these areas
has been properly disposed of, preventing future environmental
"It's important that we
properly discard hazardous waste to protect the public's health
and eliminate problems that could occur if this type of waste
ended up in municipal landfills," said Steve Way, an EPA
emergency responder who is helping to oversee hurricane response
activities from the unified federal and state command post in
Metairie, Louisiana. "Our collection operations have been
successful because many residents are cooperating by separating
household chemical products from their ordinary trash, helping
the operation run more smoothly."
Household hazardous waste includes
products like bleach, propane, batteries, paints and containers
of other household chemicals. EPA and the Louisiana Department
of Environmental Quality have worked with local agencies and parishes
to establish household hazardous waste collection centers and
curbside pick-ups for residents in Orleans, St. Tammany, Lafourche,
Plaquemines, St. Bernard, Vermillion, Cameron, and Jefferson parishes.
After pick-up and delivery to the various collection centers,
the products are segregated for either recycling or other types
of proper disposal.