OLYMPIA – The Department of Ecology’s spill responders are seeing an increase in the number of illegal dumpings of chemicals and other waste. While many collection sites are closed due to COVID-19, Ecology is reminding everyone not to dump household waste. Abandoning chemical waste can have lasting effects on human health and the environment.

Waste oil, paint, household chemicals or other hazardous materials should be safely stored until waste collection facilities reopen. For a list of facilities that will accept waste from households and businesses, visit Ecology’s website.

Abandoned waste can impact plants, fish, surface water, groundwater, recreational areas and drinking water sources. One quart of oil can pollute more than 100,000 gallons of water.

“We typically don’t see blatant abandonment of these products in our parks and public areas, but it’s been happening recently,” said Dave Byers, response section manager with Ecology’s Spills Program. “Damage to our environment can be avoided with people taking the proper steps to dispose of these chemicals. Doing otherwise puts people and our environment in jeopardy, and can result in penalties to those responsible. Please do not dump these hazardous materially illegally.”

If you find abandoned hazardous material or want to report a spill, visit Ecology’s reporting page, or call 1-800-OILS-911.