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Tips for Keeping Gasoline and Household Chemicals Out of Your Water Supply

  • Keep as little gasoline around the home as possible. Gasoline is both flammable and toxic (with or without MTBE), and it is one of the most dangerous chemicals you will encounter on a regular basis.
  • Store all Gasoline (and other toxic chemicals) as far away and downslope from your well (and your neighbor's well) as possible.
  • Buy only what you need and use it up! Most manufacturers recommend that you do not store gasoline in power equipment for more than a month, so be sure to run your equipment dry.
  • There are no cheap or easy answers for the proper disposal of gasoline that has become "gummy" or contaminated with dirt or water. Check with your state or town to see if there is a household hazardous waste pickup day in your area.
  • If you do end up with some leftover fresh gas at the end of a season of yard work, add fuel stabilizer before it gets old (generally more than 30 days from purchase).
  • Never mix left-over gasoline/oil from a two cycle engine with crankcase oil and take it to a service station or municipal trash transfer station. Many times, these places burn waste oil in space heaters and gasoline could cause an explosion.
  • Never, ever - don't even think about - burning brush with leftover gasoline!
  • Store gasoline in U.L.- listed (red for gasoline, blue for kerosene) containers. Clearly label these containers to identify the contents and fit them with a spout to allow contents to be poured without spilling.
  • Check out New York State's regulation for portable fuel containers (link leaves DEC's website). Never store gasoline in unapproved containers such as glass jars or plastic milk jugs. These can break or deteriorate, causing a spill or a fire.
  • Store all gasoline containers in a well ventilated shed or detatched garage, away from the reach of children.
  • Once a month check for leaks from fuel tanks, engines, or storage containers (UL-listed plastic containers will not rust).
  • Little leaks and spills can add up and cause groundwater contamination. Don't be a do-it-yourselfer when it comes to changing your car's crankcase oil (which may contain a small measure of MTBE). Have it done at an oil change shop or service station that recycles the waste oil. Paying $19.95 every 3,000 miles is cheap insurance against groundwater contamination.


  • Buy only what you need.
  • Use what you've got.
  • Store away from your home and well.

Reproduced courtesy of L.U.S.T. Line, New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission

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