Household and hazardous chemicals in flood-affected areas

Household hazardous waste includes materials such as acids and alkalis; brake fluids and coolants; car care products; cleaning products; paint; pesticides; insecticides; rodenticides; herbicides and other garden chemicals; polishes; pool chemicals; solvents (including paint thinners, turpentine); and varnishes and stains.

Large areas of NSW have been severely impacted by floodwaters. As a result of floodwaters entering homes and businesses it is possible that household chemicals, bulk. chemicals, and dangerous goods may have travelled large distances from their location.

If these items have been damaged and their contents spilt or released, people and the environment may be at risk of harm. 


Personal protective equipment, particularly gloves, must be used when handling and disposing of household chemicals.

Household Chemicals

Undamaged and uncontaminated household chemicals

  • Store safely in a secure location on your property until they can be transported to a community recycling centre or local household chemical clean out event. Household Chemical CleanOut events are a free service, run jointly by the NSW Government and local councils, which provide a safe way to dispose of potentially hazardous household items such as paint, oils and cleaning products.
  • To find out when the next Household Chemical CleanOut event is scheduled or where your closest Community Recycling Centre is in your area, go to the EPA website or contact your local council.

Household chemicals that have been spoiled or contaminated by flood waters

Contact your local council for advice about disposal of household chemicals. Each council has different local arrangements depending on the level of flood damage sustained.

For further information visit Services NSW @

Agricultural quantities

Non-household quantities of chemicals such as pesticides and larger volumes of household chemicals that are no longer useful should be stored safely on your property until they are able to be collected

Debris on shorelines, beaches and in waterways

Chemical drums and containers including gas bottles found in waterways or washed up on beaches: 

  • If safe to do so place above high water, call 131 555 to report to the EPA and collection will be arranged by contractors.
  • If the material presents a risk to life or the environment, do not disturb it and call Triple Zero (000) for a HAZMAT response.

If you become aware of an imminent threat of harm to people or the environment from a release or spill of these items release you should contact Triple Zero (000) to report the emergency and provide as much detail as possible.

Page last updated