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Pollution Prevention

Microorganisms at Work

Over 40 million gallons of wastewater enters the city's wastewater system each day. Wastewater entering each plant is first strained through a bar screen structure to remove large debris and then sent to a grit chamber to allow sand and grit to settle while organic matter remains suspended in the water. Then, in special aeration basins, billions of microorganisms consume the organics in the wastewater allowing the treatment process to continue.

Protect Our Investment

Certain items, when introduced into the city's wastewater system can adversely affect the operation of the city's four reclaimed water plants by damaging pumps and motors, interfering with the biological treatment process and harming the general environment. The following items should never be introduced into the city's wastewater system:

  • Chemicals
  • Pesticides
  • Petroleum products
  • Antifreeze
  • Non-biodegradable objects (plastic cups, bottles, Latex products, diapers, feminine hygiene products, for example)

It's About Making Choices

Look at the labels on the various cleaning products in your home to see if they have these signal words:

  • Poison: Highly toxic
  • Danger: Extremely flammable, corrosive or highly toxic
  • Warning: Moderate hazard
  • Caution: Mild/Moderate hazard

Note: No signal word denotes not hazardous

Consider using less toxic alternatives:

  • Baking Soda - cleansing agent and deodorizer
  • Lemon juice and white vinegar - cleanses and cuts grease
  • Borax - laundry booster, cleaning agent, and deodorizer
  • Less-toxic alternatives reduce your family's exposure to harmful chemicals and help our environment. They are often less expensive and require less storage space. Buying Smart is a great way to prevent pollution.

What About Mercury?

Mercury is a highly toxic substance to humans and the environment. Although products containing mercury are not harmful when used properly, they must be recycled and disposed of properly. Examples of products, which contain mercury, include:

  • Thermometers
  • Thermostats
  • Fluorescent lights
  • Paint
  • Contact lens solution
  • Batteries
  • Old pesticides
  • Sump pumps
  • Light switches
  • Televisions

Follow three easy rules when disposing of products that contain mercury:

  • Do not put down the drain
  • Do not put in the trash
  • Do not incinerate

Proper Disposal

Think before pouring chemicals down the drain or throwing them in the trash. Instead, take them to the Household Chemical Collection Center (HC3). The HC3 is a permanent facility where residents of Pinellas County may bring chemical wastes for proper disposal. HC3 is located at 2990 110th Avenue North in St. Petersburg. Check out the Swap Shop where useable chemical products are available for home or community service projects. Remember to package and transport your chemicals safely.

  • Never mix chemicals together
  • Keep products in original, labeled containers
  • Place leaky containers in clear plastic bags (check compatibility of chemical to plastic)
  • Place containers and bags in cardboard boxes and use crumpled newspaper in boxes to prevent breakage
  • Put boxes in the trunk or the back of the vehicle, away from passengers.

All citizens of St. Petersburg are encouraged to become environmentally responsible and this includes our business community. Your business may be eligible to participate in quarterly collection events at HC3. Contact Pinellas County Utilities to learn more.

Whether you participate as a homeowner or a business, 95% of chemicals collected are recycled, reclaimed or blended for fuel. The remaining 5% of chemicals, where no technology exists, are disposed of. Doing your part helps protect our environment. The use of new technology, substitution of less-toxic products, practicing conservation, installation of efficiency enhancements, and recycling provide a continuing benefit to the health of our community.

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City of St. Petersburg
P.O. Box 2842
St. Petersburg, FL 33731

  • p: 727-893-7111
  • f: 727-892-5102
  • tty: 727-892-5259
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