Environmental Health
Hazardous Waste
Hazardous Waste Plan  

Background Information

All cities and counties in Washington are required by the Washington State Hazardous Waste Management Act, Chapter 70.105 of the Revised Code of Washington, to develop plans to manage hazardous wastes produced by households, small businesses, and institutions.

Household paints, solvents, cleaners, pesticides, used motor oil, antifreeze, adhesives, and a variety of other products used in repair and remodeling, gardening, home maintenance, and auto and equipment maintenance often contain hazardous chemicals. When thrown away, these products become household hazardous wastes (HHW).

Similarly, many industries, commercial businesses, public agencies, and institutions also use hazardous products and produce hazardous waste in the course of doing business or conducting operations. Pesticide applicators, mining operations, dry cleaners, auto repair shops, printers, wood working and furniture repair shops, painting contractors, boat yards, auto wrecking yards, and medical and dental facilities are among the many businesses likely to produce these wastes.

Hazardous Waste Plan Adopted in 1991

In the mid-1980s, Thurston County began to take steps to ensure that public and environmental health threats posed by HHW and small quantity generator (SQG) hazardous wastes were minimized. The community recognized that many of these wastes were disposed indiscriminately into the environment, or were discarded through municipal solid waste and wastewater systems, or into septic tanks or other on-site wastewater treatment systems. Improper use and disposal of even small amounts of hazardous materials can pollute ground water, which is the major source of drinking water in Thurston County.

To address HHW and SQG hazardous waste comprehensively, the Moderate Risk Waste Plan for Thurston County was prepared and adopted by Thurston County and the cities of Bucoda, Lacey, Olympia, Rainier, Tenino, Tumwater, and Yelm (referred to here as the 1991 Plan). The 1991 Plan presented an ambitious program for reducing the quantities of hazardous waste generated by households and SQGs, and for diverting these wastes from municipal waste streams and indiscriminate disposal into the environment.

Plan Updates

Since adoption of the 1991 Plan, much has been accomplished through the Thurston County Hazardous Waste Program, which was established to carry out the Planís recommendations. However, after several years of implementation, the County and cities realized the benefits of re-examining goals, objectives, and direction set by the Plan, and to make appropriate adjustments or refinements.

In 1996, the County began the process of updating the 1991 Plan. The July 1998 Hazardous Waste Plan for Thurston County updated that original plan, and presented a refined strategy for improving HHW and SQG hazardous waste management. This process will once again refine and improve the county's system for managing HHW and SQG hazardous wastes.

In 2013, Thurston County began work to revise its most recent Hazardous Waste Plan. The result of this effort is the Thurston County Hazardous Waste Management Plan.

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This page last updated: 04/27/22