KC crews clean up after someone leaves 1,600 pounds of paint behind

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The KC Water Department doesn’t normally clean illegal dumping sites, but they helped with a rare emergency Thursday: Someone left 1,600 pounds of paint on East 31st Street.

“They were ruptured, some of the cans, so we needed to get it cleaned up so it wouldn’t get into our ground water and our storm water,” said Robert Fort, environmental manager for KC Water.

Fort said the paint could have also been flammable. The cans were so old and rusted, they couldn’t tell. KC Water doesn’t know who left behind the hazardous waste.

“I would say it was probably from a paint contractor that painted materials,” Fort said.

There’s about 25 cameras up in Kansas City to catch illegal dumpers, but none on that stretch of East 31st Street where the 1,600 pounds of paint were dumped.

Of the 165 summons written for illegal dumping last year, city officials said around 40 were for contractors who sometimes dump illegally to avoid fees.

“That’s where it usually comes from. We just have no way to prove that,” Fort said. “They don’t leave any calling cards or labels on the materials.”

KC Water’s Household Hazardous Waste Center doesn’t collect paint used for commercial purposes. They do collect household waste, which you can read more about how to safely dispose of here.

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