What is Solid Waste?
"Solid waste" means all perishable and non-perishable solid and semisolid wastes including, but not limited to, garbage, rubbish, ashes, industrial wastes, sewage sludge, demolition and construction wastes, abandoned vehicles, contaminated soils, and recyclable materials. The two main Washington Administrative Codes (WAC) that regulate solid waste activities are WAC 173-350 and WAC 173-351.
Why Does the Health Department Regulate Solid Waste?
Solid waste usually contains organic matter (food, yard waste, wood) in which microbes and parasites can rapidly grow and reproduce. Many of these organisms can cause disease in humans and our pets. These organisms can infect us when we come in direct contact with them or they get in our water or food supply. Some organisms, such as flies and rodents (vectors), can transfer disease-causing organisms from solid waste to humans. Many diseases, such as cholera, dysentery, and polio, which were common in the US in the 1800-1900s, have been greatly reduced due to a better management of solid wastes and drinking water.
BFHD is responsible for the review, permitting, and inspection of all solid waste disposal sites in Benton and Franklin Counties. The health department also investigates illegal dump sites and problem waste situations. If you would like to file a complaint regarding a solid waste problem, please call Environmental Health at (509)460.4205 or 1-800-814-4323 ext. 4205.
What is a Hazardous Waste?
Many household cleaning items and other products are hazardous waste that must be disposed of properly. Items such as paints, solvents, batteries, poisons, pesticides, and aerosols cannot be disposed of with your household garbage. These items are accepted free of charge at your local Moderate Risk Waste Facilities.
For more information on hazardous wastes:
In addition, sometimes hazardous waste is improperly or illegally disposed. If you find waste that may be a potential health hazard or may harm the environment, contact the BFHD or the WA State Dept of Ecology (509-575-2490)
What happened to the Hazardous Waste Facility at the Richland Landfill?
In June 2010 the Benton County Household Hazardous Waste (BC HHW) Facility located at the Horn Rapids Landfill in Richland was destroyed by fire. The facility provided a critical function in providing all Benton County residents and small businesses a place to safely and legally dispose of their HHW. In addition, HHW collected at Waste Management in Kennewick and solid waste drop off sites in Prosser and Benton City was also transferred to the BC HHW to be processed. All of these sites have had reduce what materials they can collect or completely stop collection. Unfortunately, at this time, there are not sufficient funds to rebuild and staff a new HHW collection facility. It may be a considerable length of time before a new facility will be constructed.
For more information on this topic:
What is Biohazardous Waste? Where can I dispose syringes and needles?
Biohazardous waste is a term that is typically used to refer to wastes associated with the medical profession and includes items like blood-contaminated bandages, used needles, and contaminated laboratory supplies. Businesses that generate these wastes are required by law to train their staff on how properly handle and dispose of these items (see link below). Businesses need to arrange to have this special type of waste collected. Call Stericycle at 1-866-783-7422 for more information.
Certain individuals like diabetics generate waste such as syringes and needles in their own homes. Solid waste collection facilities vary in their policy in the collection of these materials from residential users. In general, most solid waste collectors will accept syringes and needles if they are placed inside a plastic two liter pop bottle with a cap.
For more information on regarding needle disposal:
Link to WA State Dept of Labor & Industry
Where can I dispose my unused Pharmaceuticals?
Pharmaceutical usage has increased dramatically in the past several decades. Many of these pharmaceuticals go unused and either end up being flushed down the toilet or fall into the wrong hands. Recent research has shown that our streams, lakes, and rivers are becoming polluted by these pharmaceuticals. Many organizations have sought to find ways (like pharmacy drug take-back programs) to avoid this problem. In addition, laws and regulations have also been put forward to address to this issue but most have failed. At the current time (2011) in the Benton and Franklin Counties very few, if any, alternatives to “flushing,” exist. The BFHD recommends that unwanted pharmaceuticals be mixed with undesirable materials like wet coffee grounds or used kitty litter and disposed of in your household garbage. Occasionally, law enforcement agencies will have drug take-back programs. The BFHD will attempt to keep you notified when these programs are announced.
Where can I Recycle?
All incorporated cities in Benton and Franklin Counties have recycling programs. Contact the public works department in the city where you live to find the closest recycling collection site. In addition, there are three sites in the Tri-Cites where you can cash in your household recyclables (see addresses below). Some hazardous materials can also be recycled (see “What is Hazardous Waste?”). Last, some electronics can also be recycled.
Clayton-Ward Recycling Basin Recycling (at Basin Disposal)
119 East Alban Ave. 1721 Dietrich Rd
Kennewick (509-582-8277) Pasco (509-545-8555)
1936 Saint Ave.