ACT NOW TO AVOID PROBLEMS WITH GASOLINE AND OIL MIXTURES
September 20, 2004
At this time of year, many people find that they have gasoline mixed with oil that was put together for use in outboard motors, chain saws, lawn and garden equipment and similar small engines. With winter approaching, this mixture is often no longer needed, and the problem arises of what to do with these gas-oil mixes.
Under no circumstances should gasoline-oil mixtures be put in public waste oil collection facilities. The gasoline is explosive and can result in serious problems in recycling the used oil, resulting in both property damage and human injury.
The first approach, according to Dane County Recycling Manager John Reindl, is to avoid making more gasoline-oil mixture than can be used. "The top priority for all solid waste management, and especially for hard-to-handle materials, is prevention. As fall turns into winter, it's wise not to mix more gasoline with oil than what can be used within a few weeks. Gasoline deteriorates with age unless stabilized, and it's better to avoid making too much fuel than to have to deal with unusable fuel next spring."
It is also not a good idea to leave fuel in the tank of equipment over the winter due to the deterioration and “varnishing” of the fuel. Newer engines are especially prone to problems; to reduce air pollution, they are built with more restrictive requirements than older engines and are more likely to experience problems with old fuel.
For people who have too much gasoline-oil fuel and won't be able to use it up this fall, Reindl suggests the following methods of handling it. First, find out if there is someone who can use the fuel in a snowblower, snowmobile or other device. Second, the fuel can be stabilized for storage over winter. Unstabilized fuel becomes "stale", and can form a "varnish" that makes it undesirable as a fuel after being in storage until next spring. Stabilizers can be purchased at hardware and automotive parts stores.
A third alternative is to use the fuel in your automobile gas tank. Cars without fuel injection systems are more suitable for this use than cars with fuel injection systems; in addition, it is best to add the gasoline-oil mixture to a relatively full tank of gasoline.
The last alternative is to take the material to the Dane County/City of Madison Clean Sweep Collection facility, located at the Dane County Highway Garage at 2302 Fish Hatchery Road. This facility is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 7:30 am to 2:00 pm through October 30th of this year. The fuel and oil mixture must be brought to the site in a container you can leave.
For more information about this facility, contact Dave Radisewitz of the City of Madison Public Health Department at 294-5358. Recycling information for Dane County can also be found on the Internet at http://www.co.dane.wi.us, and clicking on the recycling symbol.
John Reindl, 267-8815