Indiana Farmstead Assessment for Drinking Water Protection

Hazardous Waste Management

Introduction Basic Guidelines Laws regarding hazardous waste disposal Solid waste management districts How to properly dispose of hazardous waste

Authors Contacts & References

Hazardous Waste Management Survey


Waste products are the result of daily living. While many types of waste are harmless, a significant number of waste products are potentially hazardous to our health and the environment. Waste products are considered hazardous if they are flammable, toxic, corrosive or react with other chemicals. Table 1 contains a listing of some common hazardous wastes found around the home and farmstead. This factsheet provides guidelines for proper handling and disposal of these wastes to prevent drinking water contamination.

Table 1.  Examples of homme and farm hazardous wastes
solvents 	    spot removers 	     ash from burned trash 
pesticides 	    dry cleaning fluids      car batteries 
oil based paint	    used motor oil & filter  gasoline 
lead based paint    shoe and leather polish  asbestos 
stains and finishes flea powder 	     furniture polish and wax 
paint stripper      photography chemicals    antifreeze 
wood preservatives  pool chemicals 	     turpentine 
tires    	    kitchen and 	     sludge from burning
		      bathroom cleaners        waste oil

Basic guidelines

Inventory your hazardous materials

Take an inventory of hazardous wastes you use or store. Know where they arelocated and how much you have. Keep the inventory up-to-date. A set of well maintained records are a valuable asset in case of a fire or other event where wastes may be released to the environment. If it is difficult to determine what is hazardous and what is not, consider everything hazardous and attempt to recycle or substitutea less toxic product.

Prevent pollution before it starts

Look for products that can do the same job with less hazardous materials. Specific examples include switching to latex paint and eliminating the need for paint thinner, and looking for biodegradable solvents to replace chlorinated types. Some items such as used motor oil, antifreeze and lead acid batteries can be recycled. Try to return spills and drips to their original use or absorb them with floor dry or cat litter. Avoid leftover hazardous wasteby good management practices such as collecting solvent to use again. Buy only the amount of material you can use up quickly to avoid storage problems. If you can't use all of the product, you will need to research how to dispose of the material properly in your area, and take action by bringing it to a special collection event or arrange for disposal through a private hazardous wastedisposal firm.

Use and store products safely

Read product labels closely. They give information on safe use, what to do in case of accidents and how to store material properly. All materials need to be locked away from children. Contain unusable leftovers for proper disposal. Never store hazardous materials in food containers to avoid poisoning accidents. Inspect storage containers frequently for leaks.

Protect your well and water resources

Use and store hazardous wastes well awayfrom water resources to prevent accidental spills or leaks that could cause contamination. Do notstore any chemical or item that contains chemicals (e.g., battery) inside a well house. Likewise do not mix chemicals or clean containers, brushes, etc., near the well or surface water. Do not use abandoned well pits for disposal or storage of chemical containers or other hazardous waste. Seal floor drains in workshops or garages where hazardous materials are spilled on the floor.

Laws regarding hazardous waste disposal

Hazardous waste generated from farmsmust be managed in accordance with local, state and federal laws. Once common practices arenow being restricted. Don't:

All these methods can result in groundwater contamination. They also pose a health and fire hazard because toxins can be inhaled and some chemicals react with each other.

A specific state law that impacts hazardouswaste management is the Indiana Responsible Property Transfer Law which requires owners to give legal disclosure of underground fuel tanks, hazardous waste spills, hazardous waste storageareas, open dumps and other information when the property is sold. Protect your well and property values by disposing of hazardous waste properly and keep up-to-date documentation of your actions.

Solid waste management districts

In 1991, the Indiana General Assembly created the mandate for solid waste management districts (SWMDs). This action was in response to overcrowding at existing landfills and a need for greater control over the toxicity of wastes going into landfills. SWMDs are dedicated to reducing the solid waste stream entering landfills by 50percent by the year 2000. Sixty-two districts cover the state. Funding comes primarily from local property taxes and landfill tipping fees.

Your local SWMD may be listed in the telephone directory under county services. You can also contact the Indiana Department of Environmental Management's Office of Pollution Prevention and Technology Assistance (IDEM-OPPTA) at 800/451-6027 for the location and telephone of your local SWMD.

How to properly dispose of hazardous waste

Disposal and recycling opportunities varyacross the state; for specific disposal and recycling opportunities in your area, contact your local solidwaste management district, county extension office or IDEM-OPPTA. IDEM-OPPTA is non-regulatory and provides guidelines for what to do with household and farm hazardous wastes.

Used motor oil

You may recycle used motor oil at your local agricultural chemical dealer or oil change station, or burn it in an approved furnace for heat. If the oil is contaminated with anything, such assolvent, kerosene or other materials, it must be treated as a flammable hazardous waste and taken to a special collection site. Land spreading of waste oil is not allowed.

Motor oil filters

Drain filters of used oil by puncturing the anti-drain back valve on the flat bottom end. This will break the vacuum and allow the oil to drain into your pan. If the filter doesn't have a back valve on the bottom, try puncturing a hole in the dome end. Place the punctured end down and drain the filter for 12 hours. The filter will drain best when it is still warm from the engine. Wrap the drained filter in newspaper and place it with the regular trash to be taken to a landfill. Some places recycle filters.


Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol and is poisonous to humans and animals. Used antifreeze that is not contaminated with oil or other materials can sometimes be recycled. Check at your local service stations. Contaminated antifreeze must be treated as a hazardous waste. Do not put antifreeze down a septic system. It kills the organisms that break down wastes and reduces the system's efficiency.

Car batteries

Each car, ATV, motorcycle or boat batterycan contain 18 pounds of lead and one pound of sulfuric acid. Recycle batteries at local automotive stores or recycling centers. If you buy a new battery, you can trade in the old battery.


Disposal of used tires is difficult since there are few options currently. Although it has been a common practice, burning tires on the farm is unsafe. A tire burns very hot for a long time and releases toxic gases. Tires should be returned to the equipment/vehicle dealer who will chop them and send the material to either a landfill or a utility where tires are burned with coal to produce energy. The dealer will charge a disposal fee based on the size of the tire.

Old fuels

If fuel such as diesel, gasoline, kerosene or fuel oil, can't be used up, take it to a special hazardous waste collection day or dispose of through a private hazardous waste firm.


Parts washing solvents, cleaning solvents and similar materials must be brought to a special collection day or disposed of through a private hazardous waste disposal company. Renting a parts washer can be a good option for some operations.

Solvent rags

Rags soaked in stain, linseed oil or other flammable materials should be linedried outside and, when totally dry, taken with other trash to a landfill. Never leave rags soaked in flammable materials in a pile because they might ignite.

Acids and bases

Items like muriatic acid, battery acid, nitricacid and hydrofluoric acid can cause severe eye and skin damage. Try using it up according to label directions. If not, acids and bases need to be brought to a special collection day or disposed ofthrough a private hazardous waste company.

Wood preservatives

Products used to protect wood are usually flammable, and some are also poisonous. Use these products up or take to a special collection day.

Paint, varnish, stain, paint stripper

Latex or water based paint and stain, less than ten years old, can be dried out with an equal amount of clay cat litter and taken to a landfill or put out for trash pickup. Oil based products are flammable and need to be taken to special hazardous waste collection day, as does lead paint,turpentine, paint thinner, varnish and filters from a paint booth.

Recyclable trash

Newspapers, tin, aluminum cans, plastics 1-9, glass food or beverage containers, card board, and magazines are recyclable. Items like hot water heaters, ovens, washers, dryers, old fence and other types of scrap metal can often be recycled at a local scrap yard. Call to see what they will accept. Leaves, grass and other organic matter can be composted. Ask your local Cooperative Extension office or SWMD for publications to help you get started.

Ash and sludge

Ash and sludge from waste oil burners maycontain heavy metals. Take this material to a landfill for disposal.

Toxic household trash

Hazardous materials generated from yourhouse, such as flea powder, turpentine and oil based paints should be brought to a special hazardous waste collection event.


Asbestos fibers that can be inhaled or ingested are a toxic material that requires careful handling. Many types of asbestos containing materials have very little potential to yield fibers in a powder or dust during removal and disposal. For example, floor tiles, asphalt-based siding and roofing materials may be removed and sent to a landfill as solid waste; but transite or slate board roofing is dangerous and must be packaged, labeled and taken to a landfill that accepts this material. If other asbestos containing materials are in good condition--not peeling,cracking or crumbling--leave them alone. IF removal is necessary contact your local solidwaste management district or the IDEM Office of Solid and Hazardous Waste Management (800/451-6027) for guidelines.

Veterinary medical waste

Check to see if you can return unused medical waste like antibiotics to your veterinarian. Call your extension educator for other options. Most special collection days for hazardous waste do not take medical waste. Place items like syringes in a heavy plastic container with a lid, marked clearly, and take to a landfill.

Open burning

Indiana has a ban on open burning with theexception of vegetation from fence row cleaning or a similar activity. Local ordinaces may further restrict open burning.

Pesticides and banned pesticides

Take pesticides that can't be used up to aspecial hazardous waste collection event or dispose of through a private hazardous wastefirm. Old pesticides that have been in storage for many years should be placed in secondary containment until they are properly disposed. Many of the older pesticides are no longer registered foruse. Spills of these chemicals can result in expensive cleanup.

Dead animals

Bury animals far from wells, ditches, creeks, rivers and other bodies of water for public health and pollution reasons.


Dawn Boston
Sarah Brichford
Fred Whitford
Cheri Janssen

Contacts and References

Regulations and Disposal of Hazardous Waste

	Indiana Department of Environmental
	Management (IDEM)
	P.O. Box 6015 
	Indianapolis, IN  46206-6015

	Specific departments:
		*Office of Pollution Prevention and
		 Technology Assistance has list of local
		 hazardous waste districts; hazardous 
		 waste contractors.
		*Office of Solid and Hazardous Waste

Pesticide Disposal

	Office of Indiana State Chemist
	1154 Biochemistry Bldg.
	West Lafayette, IN  


	Indiana State Board of Health (ISBH)
	1330 W. Michigan Street
	Indianapolis, IN  46206 

	Indiana Poison Control Center

What to read about...


Yard Waste



The following numbers coinside with the numbers listed above.

	1. Indiana Recycling Coalition
	   P.O. Box 6357
	   Lafayette, IN  47903

	2. Purdue University Cooperative Extension
	   offices or Media Distribution Center
	   310 S. 2nd Street
	   Lafayette, IN  47901-1232 
	   765/494-6794 or 1-888/EXT-INFO

Hazardous Waste Management Fact Sheet and Surveywere developed by Dawn Boston, Director, Wildcat Creek Solid Waste District; Sarah Brichford, ExtensionWater Quality Specialist, Department of Agronomy; and Fred Whitford, Coordinator, Purdue PesticidePrograms.

Editor: Cheri Janssen, Department of Agronomy

For Survey 5: click here -

Hazardous Waste Management Survey

Reviewed 5/1/01

It is the policy of the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service, David C. Petritz, Director, that all persons shall have equal opportunity and access to its programs and facilities without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, or disability. Purdue University is an Affirmative Action employer. This material may be available in alternative formats. 1-888-EXT-INFO.