Placing household chemicals for curbside trash collection can create a dangerous fire hazard

By Caroline Ask, Solid Waste Division Manager

In the last year, unauthorized household chemical disposal resulted in five fires in the City of College Station’s solid waste collection trucks. With your help, we can end those dangerous and costly incidents.

Proper disposal of unused household chemicals is as easy as taking them to one of the convenient Household Hazardous Waste Collection events hosted by BVSWMA, Inc., each April and October.

Household hazardous waste – paint, herbicides, pesticides, automotive fluids, and especially pool chemicals – should never be placed in curbside bins or lawn and leaf bags left for bulk collection. Hazardous products typically are labeled as CAUTION, DANGER, WARNING, COMBUSTIBLE, CORROSIVE, EXPLOSIVE, TOXIC, POISON, or FLAMMABLE.

In addition, chemicals should never be poured down the kitchen sink, a storm drain, or on your property. Even small amounts can be toxic, corrode pipes and infrastructure, and contaminate the soil. Hazardous chemicals can also ignite fires in solid waste carts and trucks, posing significant safety risks to collection operators, emergency response personnel, and your family and neighbors.

Fortunately, help is on the way!

The spring Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event is Saturday, April 22, from 7 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Texas A&M University Services Building east of Veterans Park on Harvey Road. It remains the safest way to dispose of hazardous materials and containers from your home.

In the meantime, here are five tips to help you manage and reduce the risk of hazardous waste:

  1. Use what you have before purchasing more.
  2. Never combine unused products.
  3. Keep the materials in their original containers.
  4. Pay attention to warning labels, placards, and safety data sheets.
  5. Follow disposal instructions on the label to avoid injuries and environmental harm.

The Solid Waste Division promotes working together to achieve a healthy community for everyone. We sincerely thank our customers for helping maintain the highest safety level for our operators.

If you have questions, contact the Public Works Department at 979-764-3690 or

About the Blogger

Caroline Ask is in her sixth year with the city and her third as the solid waste division manager. She previously served as an engineering program specialist and environmental inspector and held environmental health positions at Texas A&M and Houston’s Texas Children’s Hospital. She earned a bachelor’s degree in bioenvironmental sciences from A&M in 2012.

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