Skip to Page Content
Delaware.gov Governor | General Assembly | Courts | Elected Officials | State Agencies
  Photo: Featured Delaware Photo
 
 
  Phone Numbers   Mobile   Help   Size   Print   Email

Skip Navigation LinksDNREC : Division of Waste & Hazardous Substances : SHWM

 
Frequently Asked Questions about Solid, Hazardous and Infectious Waste

 

Where can I dispose of my trash?

The Delaware Solid Waste Authority (DSWA) operates several solid waste landfillstransfer stations and collection stations where your trash may be disposed. You may self-haul or contract with a waste hauling company (DSWA maintains a list of solid waste collection services).  Some municipalities and counties also offer waste collection services.  

Where can I dispose of Household Hazardous Waste?

The Delaware Solid Waste Authority (DSWA) sponsors collection days at various locations and dates throughout the year. 

What is solid waste?

Basically, solid waste is your trash. For the full statutory definition, see  7 Del. C., § 6002(23) or for a regulatory definition, see the Regulations Governing Solid Waste  

What is clean fill?

"Clean Fill" means a non-water-soluble, non-decomposable, environmentally inert solid such as rock, soil, gravel, concrete, broken glass, and/or clay or ceramic products. Clean fill may not include trash, wood, steel or biodegradable waste.

Can I bury asphalt?

No. Contact the Solid and Hazardous Waste Management Branch at 302.739.9403 for further information.

Can I bury wood?

No. Contact the Solid and Hazardous Waste Management Branch at 302.739.9403 for further information.

Can I bury concrete?

Yes, but there are conditions. Concrete may be considered clean fill but it must be from a non-industrial source and be free of steel, metal and paint. Contact the Solid and Hazardous Waste Management Branch at 302.739.9403  for further information.

What is a debris pit?

Debris pits are created when solid waste such as land clearing debris (trees, brush and stumps) and construction debris (lumber, drywall, shingles, siding, etc.) are buried below ground. Historically debris pits were created in the construction of residential developments as a means to dispose of land clearing and construction debris.  This practice became illegal in 1988.  Current regulations require disposal of these wastes in a permitted solid waste disposal facility; however, residential properties built in the 1960's, 70's and 80's still experience problems as a result of past disposal practices.

I think I have a debris pit.

There are three indicators to look for if you suspect a debris pit on your property. They are:

Subsidence - an area of the yard that has settled and is lower in elevation than the surrounding area. The difference in elevation can be a few inches to a couple of feet depending on the amount of settlement that has occurred. Cracks in the soil at the edge of the subsided area may be visible. The natural settlement and decomposition of the waste mass causes the subsidence. Subsidence can also occur in areas where soils used for fill have not been properly compacted.   

Distressed vegetation - plants and grass will not grow or grow poorly in a specific area as a result of gases produced by the decomposing debris. While this is one possible indication of a debris pit, distressed vegetation can be caused by many factors other than a debris pit.

Sinkholes - an open hole or holes that suddenly appear in your yard. Sinkholes may appear small at the surface but can be cavernous immediately below the surface and should be approached with caution. As a safety precaution, sinkholes should be covered with plywood or a suitable substitute and children and pets should be kept away until the cause of the sinkhole can be determined and the problem corrected. Sinkholes are formed when large void spaces within the buried debris become exposed at the surface of the ground. The debris within the debris pit is sometimes visible within the sinkhole. Sinkholes can also be formed by improperly channeled storm water or by abandoned septic tanks that have degenerated.

If you have a debris pit, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) will assist you in determining the best course of action. Please contact the Division of Soil and Water at 302.739.9921.

 

I think I have a sinkhole.

Sinkholes may appear small at the surface but can be cavernous immediately below the surface and should be approached with caution. As a safety precaution, sinkholes should be covered with plywood or a suitable substitute and children and pets should be kept away until the cause of the sinkhole can be determined and the problem corrected. Sinkholes are formed when large void spaces within the buried debris become exposed at the surface of the ground. The debris within the debris pit is sometimes visible within the sinkhole. Sinkholes can also be formed by improperly channeled storm water or by abandoned septic tanks that have degenerated.

 

If you have a sinkhole, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) will assist you in determining the best course of action. Please contact the Division of Soil and Water at 302.739.9921.

Can I burn my leaves?

No, open burning of leaves is illegal in Delaware.

Can I burn my trash?

No, open burning of trash is illegal in Delaware. 

What is considered household infectious waste?

Infectious waste is any waste that may cause human disease, harbor human pathogenic organisms, or pose a potential threat to human health or the environment.  Common household infectious waste items include syringes with needles (known as sharps).  Household infectious waste, especially sharps, should be discarded carefully.  Sharps containers can be purchased at a medical supply store and are made of a heavy red plastic with a one-way lid so that the contents cannot spill out.  Also, a sharps container can be made of a sturdy plastic or metal container, such as a liquid detergent bottle or a coffee can.  For both types of containers, before disposal in your household trash the lid should be securely taped and then double bagged.  They can also be taken to a Delaware Solid Waste Authority’s Household Hazardous Waste collection event. 

I have a sharps container at home, what do I do with it?

Sharps containers that are purchased from medical supply stores or are homemade by using a sturdy plastic or metal container, such as a liquid detergent bottle or a coffee can, can be placed in the trash by securely taping the lid and then double bagging.  Sharps containers can also be taken to a Delaware Solid Waste Authority’s Household Hazardous Waste collection event. 

How do I report illegal waste problems?

Environmental Enforcement Officers enforce the state’s air, waste, and water pollution laws.  Examples of illegal waste management include open burning of household trash, furniture and tires being discarded on vacant land or rural properties, chemicals such as used oil being poured into a storm drain, and raw sewage being dumped into waterways from RVs and boats.  To report illegal waste disposal contact the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s 24-hour complaint hotline 1.800.662.8802.

How do I find out about a facility’s operation record?

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) has a web-based database called the Environmental Navigator containing information about a facility such as the type of business or industry, permit status, violations, and enforcement history.

What solid waste facilities are near my home?

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) has a web-based database called the  Environmental Navigator which contains basic information about a facility such as location.

 

site map   |   about this site   |    contact us   |    translate   |    delaware.gov