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'Home HAZMAT' collection sites aim to keep gunk out of your water

Posted at 10:26 PM, Mar 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-15 23:26:11-04

MILWAUKEE COUNTY — We've been spending a lot more time at home over the last year, which means a lot of time spent looking at the junk in our homes that we should probably get rid of.

There's a place in Milwaukee County that is eager to help you clean out your house and do it properly.

The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District - yes, the same people who keep our toilets flushing - want to help you get another kind of waste out of the house.

MMSD spokesman Bill Graffin says it's as easy as picking up a pizza curbside.

"Basically a drive-thru. You don't get out of your car. We don't want you to get out of your car, for COVID rules. You just pull up, open up your trunk or your back door and the guys will take all the stuff out and get rid of it properly," Graffin said.

This site at 13th and College is one of three around the county where they're just waiting for your gunk.

What can you bring here?

Paint is a big one. Even old nail polish should be treated as "home hazmat."

Used motor oil and stale gas from last summer's lawnmower should be treated as hazardous.

Even burned-out fluorescent light bulbs.

On the day we visited, paint was a popular item and they'll take it off your hands by the trunk full.

Charlotte Linberry took the chance to get rid of gallons just laying around the house.

"It's been sitting there about two years. We knew you couldn't just toss it in the trash and I knew there was a place to take it. Finally got the inspiration to come out and get rid of it today," she said.

A lot of people have been similarly inspired over the last few years.

Since 2016, MMSD has collected more than a million pounds of gunk each year that could otherwise pollute our water.

That includes 2020, a year where the program shut down for two months because of the pandemic.

Good numbers, because that's a lot of paint and other chemicals that can be disposed of properly, making sure the lake and your water can run clean.

Find a Home HAZMAT site near you here.

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