BANGOR, Maine — There was a time, not too long ago, when people thought nothing about dumping unused hazardous waste — such as old oil and antifreeze — down the drain.
To prevent such pollution, 22 regional communities have banded together for the last dozen years to host an annual Hazardous Waste Collection Day in Bangor, and this year’s drop-off is Saturday, Oct. 2.
“Hazardous Waste Collection Day gives residents an option for disposal,” Ken Locke, Brewer’s environmental services director, said Friday. “In the past, [hazardous waste] has gone in the sewer, trash or was dumped down a catch basin.”
Unused products with the words caution, poison, toxic, flammable, pesticide, warning, combustible, or danger printed on them can be dropped off from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. next Saturday at the Bangor Public Works Department, 530 Maine Ave.
“We take approximately a mile of fluorescent light bulbs, if you laid them out end to end,” Jerry Hughes, Bangor Public Works’ training officer, said Friday. “We average … 2,000 gallons or more of oil-based products.”
The items that will be collected are oil-based paint, linseed oil, pesticides, turpentine, used antifreeze, used motor oil, varnish, liquid mercury, old gasoline, transmission fluid, chemical fertilizer, brake fluid, rechargeable batteries, fungicides, paint remover and thinner, fluorescent lamps, herbicides, rat poison and mercury ther-mometers. Residents must bring a list of what they want to get rid of and each is allowed to bring up to 15 gallons of hazardous materials.
TVs, computers, monitors, rechargeable batteries and other items that contain hazardous materials also can be dropped off for free by those who preregister, Hughes said.
Those who show up without a permit will be charged a $10 fee, he said.
In addition to Bangor and Brewer residents, the event also is open to those who live in Carmel, Clifton, Dedham, Dixmont, Eddington, Etna, Glenburn, Hampden, Hermon, Holden, Kenduskeag, Milford, Newburgh, Old Town, Orono, Orrington, the Penobscot Nation, Stockton Springs, Veazie and Winterport.
Bangor residents have until noon Friday, Oct. 1, to get permits from City Hall or the Public Works Department, while those in Brewer have until noon Thursday, Sept. 30, to get permits from the Public Works Department on Green Point Road.
Residents of the other 20 communities involved should head to their town halls to get a Residential Household Hazardous Waste Product Permit.
Bangor Public Works held the first hazardous waste collection in 1998, and over the years the collection has grown to include most area communities. Tons and tons of old paint, motor oils, fluids and electronics have been properly disposed of through the event, Locke said.
Over the last dozen years, Locke estimates Brewer residents have dropped off several hundred gallons of hazardous materials — keeping them from polluting nearby waterways and filling landfills.