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News Release

Martha Lou Wheatley-Billeter, MPA
Public Works Information and Outreach Manager
Office: 509-477-7195

Barrels of Used Oil Illegally Dumped on County Roads

More Than Three-Dozen 55-Gallon Barrels Found

SPOKANE COUNTY, August 4, 2016 – Multiple agencies are responding to a rash of illegal dumping around Spokane County. More than three dozen 55-gallon barrels of used oil have been dumped at various locations over the past six days, bringing together the Spokane County Public Works Department, Sheriff’s Office, Emergency Management, County Fire Districts 4 and 10, Spokane Fire Department’s HazMat Unit, and the State Department of Ecology. 

The string of illegal dumping incidents began on Saturday, July 30th, when 8 barrels of used oil were found at Chattaroy and Perry, west of State Highway 2. On Sunday, July 31st, five more barrels were discovered at Perry, north of Hawthorne. On Tues, 16 barrels were dumped at Hayford and Euclid in the City of Airway Heights. The latest incident was today (August 4th), when another 13 barrels were discovered at Government Way and Huston, near the old military cemetery that was used by Fort George Wright.

Aside from the risks created for motorists and the environment – the cost to taxpayers is adding up to tens of thousands of dollars. The contents of each barrel must be tested at a cost of approximately $1,000 per barrel – and there are the additional costs to dispose of the contents and the barrels. 

According to the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 70.105.080 and 70.105.085 Hazardous Waste Management violations, the illegal dumping of used oil is a felony and punishable by a minimum of one-year in jail, thousands of dollars in fines – up to and including the cost of clean-up, and disposal of the contents and containers. Officials are asking the public to help catch those responsible. If you have information, you are asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Disposing of Used Oil
According to the Spokane County Regional Solid Waste System, residents of Spokane County can take used oil to the Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Drop Sites at the North & Valley Transfer Stations on Saturdays & Sundays, or to the Waste to Energy Facility HHW Drop Site seven-days a week. However, they are limited to quantities of 5 gallons or less per visit.

Businesses can dispose of used oil at the North or Valley Transfer Stations through the Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators (CESQG) program offered by Steri-Cycle and Waste Connections. Disposal is by appointment only on Saturdays and Sundays from 8:30–10:00 a.m. and from 2–3:00 p.m. Call 1-800-228-7872 to schedule a drop-off appointment. COD only: Credit Card or Check.

Spokane County’s Transfer Stations are not equipped to safely store large quantities of hazardous waste so that is why Steri-Cycle schedules appointments to do drop-off/pick-ups for CESQG businesses and there are restrictions as to how much residents can drop off each visit.

For more information on disposing of hazardous wastes, call Spokane County Recycling at (509) 477-6800.

Department of Ecology Background Information
The EPA’s May 1st 1992 decision DOES NOT list used oil as hazardous waste AS LONG AS:

  1. It is recycled (recycling includes burning for energy recovery.)
  2. It has not been mixed or contaminated with gasoline, antifreeze or hazardous wastes (such as chlorinated solvents found in break cleaner and carburetor cleaner).

OTHER WASTES that can be managed like used oil include crude-based products like transmission fluid, hydraulic fluid, gear lube oils, metalworking oils and different fluid. THESE MAY BE MIXED TOGETHER, but add nothing else or you run the risk of contaminating a batch of used oil and turning it into a hazardous waste.

More information on business hazardous waste generator status and requirements can be found at the DOE website: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/hwtr/manage_waste/rules_for_sqgs.html

About Spokane County
Spokane County government serves 485,000 citizens and 13 municipal jurisdictions, making it the fourth largest county in the State of Washington.  For more information, visit www.spokanecounty.org, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

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