Chemical products are used daily within our society.  Most of these products, when handled or used properly, pose no danger to the public.  However, some chemicals, commonly referred to as "hazardous chemicals", become dangerous to life and the environment if released from their containers, as could occur in a fire or transportation accident.

Household Hazardous Waste

  • Used or leftover contents of consumer products including certain paints, cleaners, stains, varnishes, car batteries, motor oil, and pesticides are considered "household hazardous waste".  These products should be maintianed in a safe, dry place away from children, heat, flames, or freezing conditions.  Store the waste in its original container and keep the original label intact.  Containers displaying corrosion should be repackaged and relabled.  To prevent toxic chemical reactions, do not mix household hazardous waste products together.
  • Help alleviate the accumulation of hazardous waste by purchasing amounts that can be completely used.  Options to dispose of unused chemicals include sharing leftover substances with neighbors, donating to organizations that need the chemicals, or taking the material to a local household hazardous waste collection program.  Check with the South Dakota State Fire Marshal concerning acceptable waste types and proper disposal procedure.
  • Its illegal to dispose of lead-acid batteries and automobile oil in landfills.  Venders must accept batteries ona trade-in basis.  Many filling stations collect used oil as a service to customers.
  • Hazardous waste must not be poured down to the drain, on the ground, or into storm sewers where it may contaminate ground water, wells, rivers, and lakes.  In these environments, waste threatens plants, fish, and other wildlife as well as the quality of drinking water.  Improper storage in the home presents health risks to the entire family.

Hazardous Material Transportation Safety

  • Most of these hazardous materials are requried to be shipped in containers that meet strict specifications established by teh U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).  There are marking requirements that provide an identification of the type of hazard that can be posed by the particular product.  A DOT label is found on individual packages, drums, or other small containers and is in the shape of a 4-inch diamond.  A DOT placard is also diamond-shaped, but is larger and found on the outside of the transport vehicle.  Placards are used only if there are 1,000 pounds or more of various materials on board.
  • Diamond-shaped symbols are used in accordance with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) for indicating the various hazards of the material in a fixed location such as a storage warehouse.
  • Should you come upon an accident involving a container or truck marked with a label, or placard, do not approach.  Do not come in contact with any released materials.  Remember, hazardous materials may occue in liquid, solid, or gaseous state.  Do not smoke or allow any combustion source in the area.
  • Advise bystanders that the material may be very dangerous and ask them to leave the area immediately.  If the material is on fire, or several substances are mixing together, there is a risk of explosion or other violent reaction.  Instruct everyone to evacuate from the area to distance of at least one mile.
  • Report the incident to local authorities immediately.  Communicating the following information will greatly speed up the response:
    • The exact location of the incident
    • Type of vehicle (container) involved
    • If there is a fire
    • The color of the placard or label and any numbers or names printed on them
    • Whether the material is leaking
    • If anyone is injured
    • Weather conditions in the area