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Free pesticide disposal day set for May 23

Improper disposal of unwanted pesticides can be a threat to human and animal health, harm the natural environment or even saddle a landowner with costly financial liability.

For nearly 20 years, the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) has provided a free disposal program that relieves residents and business owners of old, unusable or unwanted pesticide products, as well as the liability that can come from improper disposal.

This spring, collection events will be held near Yakima on Tuesday, May 23. Customer sign-up is required by April 10. Agricultural and commercial-grade pesticides accepted for disposal will include insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, rodenticides and most chemicals that kill, repel or prevent unwanted pests. Customers transport unwanted pesticides to the local collection site where WSDA takes possession. A hazardous waste contractor packs them for safe, legal transportation and disposal. WSDA sponsors the program in cooperation with local agencies and businesses.

After they sign up for the event, customers will receive supplies necessary to protect broken or leaky containers to ensure safe transportation to the collection site, as well as directions to the site, hours of operation and transportation documents. Customer names do not appear on any manifests or disposal documents. To sign up, call (360) 902-2056, toll free (877) 301-4555 or e-mail wastepesticide@agr.wa.gov.

"This is a free service that helps protect public health, keep our water clean and guard the natural environment," said program coordinator Joe Hoffman.

"We become the owner and are responsible for the pesticides once we take possession of them, which also relieves the customer of any cost of disposal or liability after we receive the chemicals. I encourage everyone to clean any unwanted pesticides out of their storage sheds and basements," Hoffman said.

Empty pesticide containers, fertilizers, motor oil and household hazardous waste are not accepted for disposal by WSDA's program. Residents can contact their local county solid waste programs or log onto www.earth911.org to learn where to dispose or recycle these materials.

WSDA has sponsored pesticide collection events since 1988. Through this program, more than 5,500 customers have disposed of nearly 1.8 million pounds of waste pesticides.

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