The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is preparing to launch a statewide Household Hazardous Materials (HHM) education campaign. Tom Anderson, with the D.N.R.’s Land Quality Bureau, says the effort will focus on four key messages.

“We’re going to begin with proper disposal and then reading the label, proper storage and proper use would be future pushes for the education campaign as a whole,” Anderson said. The campaign, which will begin in the spring of 2010, is being financed by the Groundwater Protection Fund.

The D.N.R. has partnered with a Cedar Falls based advertising and consulting company (ME&V) to develop the campaign. The contract is not to exceed $120,000. Anderson says H-H-Ms are obviously useful and beneficial for use around a home or business, but they’re potentially dangerous if disposed of improperly.

“Throwing the materials into the trash puts the sanitation worker at risk as well as his or her equipment,” Anderson said. “Pouring them down a storm sewer…most storm sewers lead directly to the local river or lake, which then impacts the aquatic life.” Anderson says Iowans can find out where they can properly dispose of H-H-Ms by calling their local solid waste agency.

“There are currently 88 or 89 counties in Iowa that have some level of HHM collection and disposal support,” Anderson said. Most counties in the state also schedule cleanup dates once or twice a year so residents can dispose of HHMs at little or no cost.