Recent heavy rains in parts of Minnesota have caused more than a few basements to flood. Before you have a basement full of water, we urge you to move or dispose of products that could become hazardous wastes.
Batteries, solvents, paints, paint thinners, pesticides, household cleaners, and other chemicals that you no longer need can be taken to your county’s household hazardous waste facility. A hazardous household product has one or more of these words on the label: caution, warning, danger, poison, flammable, reactive, corrosive, toxic.
A handy checklist for identifying hazardous household products is available on the MPCA website. If you are a Minnesota resident, you can locate your county’s household hazardous waste collection site.
“Move items that you must keep to a place that you are certain will not flood,” Jennifer Volkman, MPCA household hazardous waste specialist, advised.
“It’s also a good idea to move canned goods and other foodstuffs so they will be out of harm’s way. Household products and food containers that come in contact with floodwater are assumed to be contaminated and will have to be thrown away. Putting containers of bottled or other potable water in a place that’s unlikely to be flooded is another wise precaution so you’ll have safe water to drink and to cook with.”
More information about minimizing pollution and health risks from flooding is available on the MPCA's Floods: Minimizing pollution and health risks page webpage.
Check areas that are likely to be flooded for these products
In the basement, workbench, or craft areas
- paint thinner
- household batteries
- furniture stripper
In the laundry room and other storage areas
- furniture polish
- spot remover
- pet flea spray/collars
In the garage and where yard products are kept
- motor oil
- weedkillers, insecticides and other pesticides
- pool chemicals
- other chemicals
You can print out this checklist to identify common hazardous products in your home: Healthy home checklist.
For more information
More information about disposing of hazardous waste: Hazards in your home
More advice on what to do before and after flooding to minimize risks to health and damage to property and the environment is on the Floods: Minimizing pollution and health risks webpage.