Hazardous waste collection works to prevent groundwater contamination

Published: Sep. 10, 2023 at 9:22 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - Arizona deals with its fair share of struggles when it comes to adapting to a constantly changing climate, but Pima County is working to prevent the worst.

Dozens of cars lined up to drop off everything from computers to paper at the Household Hazardous Waste Collection event.

“Today I’m dropping off some old cans of paint,” said participant Brad Lancaster.

All to treat the earth around us a little kinder.

“This is oil based paint and I don’t want to just throw it in the garbage,” Lancaster said, “if I were to do that, it would go to Los Reales dump and there’s potential of it contaminating our ground water.”

In the desert, water is a precious resource. As water from the Colorado River shrinks, Tucson turns toward groundwater to use.

“I always tell people that you don’t want to pour things down the drain because your children or your grandchildren will be affected by that later,” Los Reales Sustainability Campus administrative assistant Cassandra Beaty said. “Not necessarily you at this time, but once it goes through the ground water and maybe in the future it’ll cost us more to treat the ground water they will be using so this is a way to protect the ground water.”

The Los Reales Sustainability Campus holds drop-offs every Thursday through Saturday at their main location. But they say events like these every second Saturday of the month bring more awareness.

“People live on the Northwest think Los Reales is far away,” Beaty said, “so it kind of gives them a chance to come and get rid of their stuff twice a year in that area.”

Beaty says events like these are a small investment members of the community can make for the longevity of Tucson’s beautiful landscapes.

“By getting rid of the chemicals in a manner that’s good for the environment, we’re also not putting it in a landfill,” Beaty said. “Therefore, it doesn’t cause a problem for us in the future.”

You can find locations for upcoming hazardous waste dropoff events here.

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