There are two separate local sites for citizens who wish to dump their household wastes.

One site is on the south side of Los Angeles International Airport at 7660 Imperial Highway, Playa del Rey, and the other site is in the Marina at 13483 Fiji Way.

The problem is that many people are dropping their household waste at the wrong site.

Residents, businesses and boaters face stiff fines for dumping household hazardous waste at Fiji Way center in the Marina, which is a motor oil recycling center.

Increasing amounts of hazardous waste materials, such as automobile and household batteries, are incorrectly being dumped at the recently renovated Marina del Rey Used Motor Oil Recycling Center on Fiji Way, west of Admiralty Way.

County officials warn that leaving behind any toxic waste at the used oil center, except used motor oil and oil filters, is illegal and can result in a fine of up to $5,000 and/or a six-month jail sentence.

Instead, household wastes should be taken to the Hyperion S.A.F.E. Collection Center at 7660 Imperial Highway, a collection site for all household hazardous waste other than used motor oil and oil filters.

Residents can use both facilities free of charge. They just need to make sure they bring the right materials to the right collection site.

The Marina Used Oil Center on Fiji Way offers boaters and residents a convenient way to recycle their used motor oil and oil filters from cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats and lawnmowers year-round and the collection site use is free.

While the Fiji Way motor oil collection site is one of many collection centers throughout Southern California that the County of Los Angeles operates free of charge, the Fiji Way collection site is not for business use but for resident use only, and is operated by the City of Los Angeles.

In the past, some hazardous waste was illegally left at the motor oil facility on Fiji Way, but the center was only open at certain times and was fenced in.

A January renovation involved the installation of new tanks and the fence was removed.

Now open 24 hours a day seven days a week, the motor oil center has increasingly become a dumping ground for all unwanted hazardous waste, officials say.

County officials say nearly $100,000 is spent each year to safely dispose of unwanted hazardous waste incorrectly left at the Marina del Rey facility on Fiji Way alone.

The county advises that it will readily prosecute residents and business owners who continue to leave unwanted waste, such as batteries and other automotive fluids, at this location.

Advising residents not to risk the penalties imposed if caught, L.A. County Public Works officials ask that household hazardous waste be dropped off at no charge, Saturdays and Sundays between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the Hyperion center on Imperial Highway.

The Hyperion center safely disposes of car and household batteries, antifreeze and other automotive fluids, unmixed paint and solvents, cleaning products, pool and garden chemicals, aerosol cans, medicine, TVs, VCRs, cell phones, computers, telephones and electronic toys.

The Hyperion center will not accept business waste, explosives, ammunition, radioactive materials, biological waste, furniture or tires, among other items.

For a full list of acceptable items and other waste disposal information, log on to www.888cleanla.com

Both centers perform critical functions in preventing pollution, conserving energy and in protecting the environment.

Statistics say that nearly half of the nation’s automotive oil is changed by consumers themselves.

Federal reports say that used motor oil accounts for more than 40 percent of the total oil pollution of the nation’s harbors and waterways and nearly 200 million gallons of used motor oil are improperly disposed of each year in the U.S.

Used oil is insoluble and slow to degrade, and it sticks to everything from beach sand to bird feathers. The oil contains toxic chemicals and contaminants such as lead, magnesium, copper, arsenic and chlorinated compounds, which all pose serious health threats to humans, plants and animals, according to officials.

Taking used oil to the Marina Used Oil Center helps protect our waterways, while disposing of used oil in the sewer or trash contributes to the contamination of the area’s harbors and waterways and officials ask residents to participate in recycling their used motor oil and filters to help protect the environment.

The used motor oil can actually be recycled, cleaned of impurities, re-refined and sold as motor oil, or it can be processed for fuel oil, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works.

To recycle the oil, drain the used motor oil into a clean container and do not mix water or any other materials with the used motor oil.

If the used motor oil is contaminated, it should be taken, along with other household hazardous waste, to the Hyperion center on Imperial Highway.

Information: (888) 253-2762 (CLEANLA), (800) 988-6942 (98-TOXIC), or

www.888cleanla.com

Julie Kirst can be reached at juliekirst@yahoo.com

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