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Illinois EPA suspends Household Hazardous Waste collections

City of Geneva IL

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has announced a temporary suspension of all Household Hazardous Waste collection events and locations after a fire occurred at the current disposal facility in Ohio. Illinois EPA is working with the current contractor to evaluate alternatives for disposal.

Illinois EPA is suspending the scheduled one-day HHW collections planned for this fall, as well as the long-term HHW disposal facilities in Chicago, Naperville, Lake County, Rockford, and Madison County that Illinois EPA supports, until normal disposal operations can resume.

IEPA currently has a contract for the disposal of collected HHW, which disposes much of the collected waste at an incinerator located in Ohio. The Ohio facility had a fire in July, which required them to cease operations until specifically made parts can be shipped from Germany. It is estimated that the facility will not be operational until mid-November.

In August 2021, the U.S. EPA issued a memorandum detailing a continuing nationwide incinerator backlog, which has rendered handling materials like HHW extremely difficult over the past year. This month, U.S. EPA reiterated the memorandum remains in effect. As a result, an alternative incinerator has not yet been identified to accept Illinois’ HHW and guarantee its incineration in a timely manner. This is the first time the IEPA HHW collection program has encountered this issue in more than two decades of operation.

Residents in possession of household hazardous wastes (e.g., oil-based paints, herbicides, cleaning supplies, household batteries) should keep the materials safely stored in their original manufacturer containers, as those are designed to safely hold the items, until HHW collections resume.

The IEPA said it is committed to rescheduling the one-day HHW collection events in Tinley Park, East Moline, Bloomington, Quincy, and Springfield once alternative disposal arrangements are available. The agency continues to explore other options for HHW disposal. Depending on the availability of other avenues and when the Ohio facility is operational, the IEPA may be able to reschedule these events yet this fall/early winter. If not, there are plans to add them to the spring schedule.

For more information on Household Hazardous Waste, please visit: https://www2.illinois.gov/epa/topics/waste-management/waste-disposal/household-hazardous-waste/Pages/default.aspx.

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