Missouri Department of Natural Resources fact sheet
Missouri Department of Natural Resources Director: Dru Buntin

Damaged or Unusable Hazardous Chemicals at Businesses

Owners, managers and employees returning to a business that has been affected by a natural disaster may find materials or products that are damaged and unusable.

  • Products labeled with words such as POISON, DANGER, WARNING or CAUTION contain hazardous chemicals. Materials used in business activity, manufacturing or maintenance may have hazardous characteristics. They may be TOXIC, EXPLOSIVE, IGNITABLE OR CORROSIVE.
  • If possible, recover these materials for use for their intended purpose. If this is not possible, the damaged or unusable hazardous materials should be separated from other debris or solid waste and placed in containers so that further human contact and release to the environment is minimized. Permanently mark the outside of the container with the name of the material inside and the potential hazard (example: Endrin Waste – TOXIC).
  • Use extreme caution when cleaning up hazardous materials in leaking or damaged containers. Wear protective garments and emergency breathing apparatus if necessary. Do not work around these damaged products in confined or poorly ventilated areas. Obtain professional hazardous materials response and cleanup services if appropriate.
  • Storm or building debris that is contaminated with hazardous materials may need to be handled and disposed of as hazardous waste.
  • Disposal of hazardous materials as hazardous waste must be in accord with the Missouri Hazardous Waste Management Law and Regulations using a licensed hazardous materials transporter at a permitted hazardous waste disposal facility.
  • Contact one of the department’s regional offices or the Hazardous Waste Program if specific guidance is needed on determining whether a waste is hazardous and how to properly manage and dispose of the waste.

Drums, Tanks and Barrels

  • Most barrels that wash up in a flood are open-burn barrels, trash barrels or dock barrels.
  • There may be danger in sealed barrels, drums or tanks with unknown contents. These should be handled by trained professionals. You can report sealed drums, barrels or tanks of unknown contents by calling the department’s Environmental Emergency Response staff at 573-634-2436.
  • If a propane tank is in flood debris, a company distributing gas may be able to identify the tank and return it to its proper location. Propane tanks have serial numbers that help to identify owners and locations.
  • If propane tanks are present or are found and there is reason to believe that they may be unsafe, contact the local emergency management coordinator, or the department’s Environmental Emergency Response staff at 800-361-4827 or 573-634-2436.
  • If an above-ground storage tank is damaged, follow your facility emergency response procedures, and contact the local emergency management coordinator or the department’s Environmental Emergency Response staff at 800-361-4827 or 573-634-2436.

Nothing in this document may be used to implement any enforcement action or levy any penalty unless promulgated by rule under chapter 536 or authorized by statute.

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