Proper Disposal of Paint and Hazardous Materials

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The Board of Directors for Harris County Municipal Utility District No. 383 (The Board, The District, HCMUD 383) works diligently to provide excellent water, wastewater, and garbage collection service to its residents, while protecting the environment.

To that end, the Board would like to remind the community of the proper disposal of paint, motor oil, and other hazardous materials. Recently, a resident disposed of a paint can in their trash receptacle. Upon collection of the garbage, the paint can burst, spilling paint in the truck and on the street. While this may not appear as a major concern, the contrary is true. A clean-up of this nature poses an environmental risk and causes extensive cost to your garbage service provider, in some cases an average of $2,500 per occurrence.

Additionally, residents may not be aware that the improper disposal of paint, oil, and other hazardous materials could be charged as a felony, as they pose a risk to the environment. In this instance, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Texas General Land Office are required to respond, as well as local law enforcement. In cases where these materials make it to storm drains, the cost to perform hazmat remediation could be up to $25,000.

What can residents do?

Properly dispose of motor oil, paint, and other hazardous materials according to the suggestions below.

  • Drop off used motor oil at an auto parts store
  • Schedule an appointment to drop off hazardous waste at acceptable facilities
  • Donate unused paint
  • Safely dispose of medical syringes

What about batteries?

Certain batteries can be disposed of with regular household garbage, while other batteries CANNOT. As most of the heavy metal has been removed from alkaline batteries, such as AA, AAA, C, D, these may be placed in the trash if specific rules are followed. 9V and 6V batteries must have the terminals taped, then sealed in a plastic bag before placing them in the trash.

Other types of batteries contain hazardous material that can cause fires on garbage vehicles. For this reason, the following batteries CANNOT be disposed of with household garbage:

  • Lead Acid batteries: Those found in vehicles, boats, and other motorized vehicles and equipment
  • Rechargeable batteries: Lithium-ion (Li-ION), nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH), and nickel cadmium (Ni-CD)

Lithium-based batteries as well as batteries of greater than 9 volts pose a fire risk. Lithium-based batteries are most commonly found in cell phones, digital cameras and laptops. Hearing aids, watches and keyless remotes typically involve button cells containing lithium. Similarly, cordless power tools use battery packs that are greater than 9 volts and/or lithium-based. Additionally, these batteries pose a special concern as they may contain harmful metals that can be dangerous to the environment and toxic to humans and animals.

Where can HCMUD 383 residents dispose of batteries, paint, or motor oil?

Residents of Harris County are eligible to dispose of hazardous materials by appointment with the Harris County Hazardous Waste Collection (HCHWC) facility located at 6900 Hahl Rd., Houston, TX 77040. To schedule an appointment for this FREE service, call 346-286-4299.

HCHWC Accepted Materials:

  • Aerosols - except for freon and mace
  • Automobile products - such as gas and motor oil
  • Batteries - up to car-battery size
  • Light bulbs - compact fluorescents and tubes
  • Oils - fats and grease
  • Paints
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Household cleaners
  • Chemicals – pool, fertilizers, and pesticides
  • Propane cylinders
  • Tires - up to five per visit
  • Thermometers - items containing mercury

For more information visit the Waste Collection page on the District website, or the Facebook page for Residential Recycling & Refuse of Texas.

By using caution when disposing hazardous materials, residents can partner with HCMUD 383 to protect the environment and keep this community safe.

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