Free drop-off for household hazardous waste prevents ‘dead zones’

Bring completed registration form Saturday to speed up lines

COVINGTON, Ky. – Back in the day, it seemed standard practice: Change your car’s oil, then dump the used oil in a hole in the back yard or down the storm sewer drain in front of your house.

In fact, the storm drain seemed to be a catch-all for a lot of dangerous chemicals and not-sure-what-to-do-with fluids … all of which contaminated our creeks and rivers and our drinking supply.

We’re smarter than that now, but the challenge of what to do with those chemicals remains.

Fortunately, a regional drop-off event this Saturday provides the solution: Covington residents can get rid of a range of dangerous waste for free during the five-hour Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event in Florence. 

“People ask all the time what they can do to be good stewards of their community and planet,” said Sheila Fields, Covington's Solid Waste and Recycling Manager. “This is the event they've been waiting for. These are the materials that turn our waterways and dirt into dead zones when they're disposed of improperly.”

The event is a massive undertaking that has attracted nearly 2,700 residents the last few years. More than 200 volunteers – including from the City of Covington – unload cars so lines go quickly.

To speed the process, drivers need to print, fill out, and bring with them a short and simple registration form.

The event will be held 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Thomas More Stadium (aka the home of the Florence Y’alls baseball team), at 7950 Freedom Way in Florence.

It's organized by the Northern Kentucky Household Hazardous Waste Action Coalition, made up of regional solid waste, sewer, health and cooperative extension agencies.

Items that can be dropped off:

  • Aerosol cans.
  • Antifreeze.
  • Batteries (all types).
  • Corrosives/flammables (fuel, kerosene, etc.).
  • E-scraps (computers, monitors, keyboards, printers, cell phones, etc.).
  • Ink cartridges/toner.
  • Light bulbs (including 4-foot and 8-foot tubes and CFL bulbs).
  • Oil (motor oil, hydraulic fluid, transmission fluid, and brake fluid).
  • Paint (both latex and oil-based, 10-can limit).
  • Pesticides (limit of 2 gallons/2 lbs.).
  • Cylinders and tanks (propane, fire extinguisher, helium, etc.).
  • Televisions (limit of 2 per vehicle). 

Items that WON'T be accepted include appliances, fertilizer, devices that contain mercury, medications, explosives, and tires. (See the NKy Solid Waste Resource Guide for proper disposal methods of these items.) Paper is also not accepted.

Note that the event is for residents, not commercial businesses.

2022 totals 

Over 7,500 items were dropped off at the 2022 event, including over 1,000 batteries, 1,900 cans of paint, 400 propane cylinders and tanks, 750 bottles of antifreeze and oil, and 1,110 bottles of chemicals.

Clean water

The environmental benefit is real, not theoretical.

When disposed of improperly, chemicals, motor oil, and other household hazardous waste ultimately contaminates groundwater, with that contamination leaching into drinking water, crops, and backyard gardens.

Covington’s Public Works Department has a Storm Water Division whose mission is to preserve the cleanliness of rainwater that washes through the gutters and catch basins in the City. To that end, Saturday’s event is a big help.

“It is very important to keep our storm water system clean and clear of chemicals and solid waste,” said assistant Public Works Director Bill Matteoli. “Storm water systems can be clogged with solid material, causing backups in the system, and chemicals can contaminate the system and cause issues with odor and ground water runoff. Taking preventive measure will help with care and maintenance of the overall system in its entirety.”

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