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Columbia County is offering residents one last chance before winter to clear their homes of paint, garden chemicals and other toxic items in a free Household Hazardous Waste drop off event.

Residents can bring a variety of items that are used around the home but cannot be placed in garbage bins or disposed through regular recycling. Substances in such common items as household cleaners, lawn and garden care and vehicle maintenance contain toxins that can present potential safety and health hazards when discarded into the environment.

“The county’s household hazardous waste collection program has grown as more people understand the value of disposing toxic items safely,” said Kathy Boutin-Pasterz, the county’s Solid Waste Administrator.

Because the events have drawn more people over the last few years, the county is extending this drop-off event by two hours. The free event takes place at the Columbia County Transfer Station at 1601 Railroad Ave. in St. Helens on Saturday, October 26, from 8 a.m. to 2.pm.

Below is a list of toxic substances that can be brought to the October 26 event. Items must be in containers of less than five gallons and should be secured safely during transport. Trained household hazardous waste technicians will unload materials from vehicles.

• ammunition

• fireworks and flares

• gas / diesel / fuels /

antifreeze / motor oil

• lawn and garden chemi


• herbicides and pesticides

• pool and spa chemicals

• light ballasts—please

remove from light fixture

• fluorescent tubes

• art and hobby chemicals

• solvents and thinners

• items containing mercury

• propane cylinders

• compressed gas cylinders

• batteries - car, recharge

able, button —no alkaline


• cleaners and detergents

• poisons

• paint and paint products (latex and acrylic paint, oil-based paint, enamel, stains, lacquers, shellacs, varnishes, primers)

• used motor oil

• cooking oil

• medical Sharps

• automotive batteries

• antifreeze

• fluorescent tubes

Unwanted paint, used motor oil and used cooking oil can be brought to the event as well as any time during the Transfer Station’s open hours for no fee. Medical Sharps are also accepted during open hours for no cost at the Scale House. Sharps must arrive in a sealed, self-closing , puncture-proof OSHA approved container.

Although automotive batteries, antifreeze and fluorescent tubes will be collected at no cost during this collection event, a fee is charged when brought to the Transfer Station at other times.

The St. Helens Police Department accepts expired, unused or unwanted prescription drugs at 150 S 13th St. Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. - noon or 1 -5 p.m. in the MedReturn collection box.

The county will begin hosting more household hazardous waste drop off events next year. The first event takes place in St. Helens on February 22, 2020.

For more information, email Kathy Boutin-Pasterz at Kathleen.Boutin-Pasterz@co.columbia.or.us or call her at 503-397-7259.


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