How to Dispose of Diesel Fuel? (The right way)

Diesel fuel is a type of liquid fuel used popularly in fuel ignition diesel engines. It is used in large quantities in the transportation industry. It powers most construction and farming equipment in the United States.

Diesel fuel is a highly valuable commodity, and it is hard to imagine the need to dispose of something so valuable, but sometimes, the situation becomes inevitable.

In this article, we will share some guidelines to help you dispose of diesel fuel.

How Can I Dispose of Diesel Fuel Safely?

Since diesel fuel is a flammable and hazardous form of waste, there are a few things you need to keep in mind before disposing of it. You must NEVER flush it down the toilet or sink or dispose it of in a trash can or recycling bin.

Doing so can corrode your pipes, pollute ground and drinking water, and pose a health risk to your neighborhood garbage collectors.

It is illegal to dump diesel fuel in a river, lake, pond, sewer, canal, or any other body of water. It is also illegal to pour it in a landfill.

So, whether you’re trying to get rid of an old vehicle that may have diesel fuel still left in its tank, or you have an old container in your garage that may have been mixed with water or any other unknown substance, you MUST dispose of it off as hazardous waste.

To dispose of diesel fuel safely, follow the instructions mentioned below:

Step # 1: Know What You Possess

The first step is to understand what you are in possession of. If you think your diesel fuel has been contaminated by water or any other unknown substance, treat it as hazardous waste to be on the safe side.

It would be best to know what you have before moving on to the next step.

Step # 2: Try to Use the Diesel Fuel

If you are sure your diesel fuel is clean, try to use it.

If it’s stored in your vehicle, transfer it to a container using a siphon and keep it for later use. If you have any other vehicle or piece of machinery, such as a generator that can run on diesel fuel, try utilizing it to avoid wastage.

Step # 3: Ask If Someone around You Wants the Fuel

Ask people around you if they would like to take the fuel off your hands. Many people would be more than happy to get free fuel for their vehicles and rush over to meet you.

You can also sell it for a nominal price.

If you know a trucker, a commercial fisherman, or a construction company, see if they are willing to buy diesel fuel from you. Only perform this step if you are 100% sure your fuel isn’t contaminated.

Step # 4: Contact Hazardous Waste Collectors

The safest way to dispose of diesel fuel is to contact hazardous waste collectors or local recycling centers in your area. The hazardous waste collection industry has grown substantially in the US in the last 6 years.

Almost all local trash companies have hazardous waste collection programs or will be able to connect you to such collectors who will take the diesel fuel off your hands and dispose of it in the right manner.

Some hazardous waste collectors may charge you a small disposal fee to dispose of diesel fuel but remember that the cost will be far less than any potential damage caused by improper disposal of diesel fuel.

Step # 5: Drop It Off at a Fire Hall

Fire departments use diesel fuel to ignite a fire for training purposes. They filter and reuse it. Contact your local fire hall and see if they would be interested in taking uncontaminated diesel fuel off your hands.

Some fire halls have a local collection spot, so you can also drop it off in a spill-proof container.

Step # 6: Dispose of the Fuel in the Landfill in Spill-Proof Containers

If your city has a landfill, drive over and see if they accept diesel fuel. Most landfills accept up to 5 gallons of diesel fuel as long as the containers are spill-proof and clearly labeled as hazardous waste.

Some landfills might apply charges for the disposal of hazardous waste. However, the cost will be less than the damages incurred via improper disposal.

How to Dispose of Items Soaked in Diesel Fuel

According to a report by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), around 1,600 homes experience fires each year due to chemical reactions and spontaneous combustion. The most common cause of these fires is oily rags soaked in hazardous waste.

You must follow a proper disposal method for items such as rags, pieces of cloth, and brushes soaked in diesel fuel.

To dispose of items soaked in diesel fuel, follow the instructions given below:

Step # 1:Lay Out the Items

The first step in this process is to allow the items soaked in diesel fuel to dry. This will enable the fuel to curate fully, so the oxidation process no longer generates any heat.

Spread the items in an outdoor area on a non-combustible surface, such as concrete.

Do not place them on a wooden surface. You can also hang them out in the sun, where there is plenty of ventilation.

Step # 2: Let the Items Dry in Open Air

Let the items dry for two days or more, depending on how much they were covered with or soaked in diesel fuel.

Step # 3: Dispose of the Items

When dried out, hand over the items to hazardous waste collectors or local garbage pickup team according to the directions given by them.

There’s another method to dispose of items soaked in diesel fuel. It is the safest and the easiest way to get rid of flammable items that may cause fires. This alternate method involves:

Step # 1: Placing Items in a Container

Place the soaked rags, brushes, or any other items in an empty metal container with a tight metal lid. An old paint can work the best.

Step # 2: Sealing the Container

Fill the container with water till the items are entirely submerged and seal it tightly using the metal lid.

Step # 3: Disposing of the Container

Take the container to a hazardous waste collection center or arrange a special pick up by your local garbage collection service.

Many districts also host hazardous waste drop-off and pickup days. Check with your local council to stay informed about it.

How to Recondition Old Diesel Fuel

Many farms, local gas stations, and construction companies buy more diesel fuel than they need. This excess fuel ends up in long term storage and degrades over time.

It becomes stale and will require reconditioning before you can use it again safely.

The process of reconditioning or filtering old diesel fuel with the help of additives can benefit you. You will be able to save a lot of money otherwise spent on buying new fuel.

Here are 5 steps you need to follow to recondition old diesel fuel and make it safe to use instead of disposing of it:

Step # 1:Transfer Diesel Fuel into Drums

Transfer the old diesel fuel from your vehicle, equipment, or container to a gallon drum. Do not work with more than 50 gallons of diesel at a time as it can complicate the process.

Ensure you have a 50-gallon drum at your convenience before beginning.

Step # 2: Add PRD-D or Ether

In the 50 gallon drum, add 3.125 oz. of PRD-D or 280 oz. of ether using a graduated cylinder. PRD-D and ether are diesel additives that improve the performance of diesel engines, boost ignition and reduce emissions.

They improve fuel consumption and help fuel system wear.

Step # 3 (Optional): Add Fuel Re-Conditioner to the Stored Fuel Storage

If you already know the volume of diesel fuel you have in your container, you don’t need a gallon drum. Add a relative amount of PRD-D or ether to the old diesel fuel. The ratio is or 0.0625 oz. of PRD-D or 5.6 oz. of ether per gallon of old diesel fuel.

Step # 4: Allow the Diesel Fuel to Sit Before Use

Let your old diesel fuel sit in the gallon drum for a day or more. This will ensure that it is fully reconditioned and infused with the power of the diesel additives.

Then, proceed to use the fuel as if it is fresh from the pump!

Final Words

Disposing of diesel fuel is challenging since there are so many health and legal implications. One needs to be extremely cautious when handling hazardous waste because improper disposal can cause loss of valuables and even life.

If you are unsure about how to dispose of diesel fuel, the best thing to do is avoid all sorts of experimentation.

Instead, contact a hazardous waste collection facility in your area and take their guidance on how to proceed to ensure diesel fuel is disposed of safely and properly.

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