By Joe Burris, The Baltimore Sun
5:00 PM EDT, August 27, 2011
Gail Pickering of Baltimore put some gasoline aside last winter when her snow plow broke down. Months later she tried giving it away but found out it was too old to use.
Pickering finally parted with the petrol on Saturday, dropping it off at the city Department of Public Works household hazardous waste drop-0ff at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute.
The event began around 8:30 and by about three hours later more than 220 cars had lined up to drop off such items as household cleaners, automobile oils and wood treatments.
"I know people don't get rid of it, and with the storm coming up, it's a pretty dangerous thing to have sitting around," said Pickering, who brought gasoline and mineral spirits.
Public works spokesman Robert Murrow said that the event was the first since April, when more than 1,800 vehicles showed up. He said that most often people come with items to discard after they've cleaned out their houses prior to moving.
""They don't have the time to use up the rest of it," said Murrow, who added that others, like Pickering, find that they no longer have a use for such materials.
"What kind of happens is that, say you have paint thinner, furniture stripper, if someone needs to do something, they buy more than they need," Murrow said. "And when they use what they use, they have all of this left over that they have no use for."
The materials were gathered in large containers and removed by Clean Harbors waste disposal services. Those who dropped off items were instructed to remain in their cars while officials removed the materials. Among the items that were not collected: explosives, acids and smoke alarms with radioactive symbols.
Those who dropped off items said the service was invaluable.
"Otherwise it would get thrown away. We don't want to do that," said Jeannie Dalmas of Baltimore, who dropped off motor oil.
Calvert Necker of Baltimore brought paint and said, "I took some of my neighbors' stuff here."
Pickering said that prior to trying to get rid of the gasoline, she had no idea that it aged to the point where it was not useful. "It's just been sitting around, one of those things you're supposed to take care of and you don't."