The release of used oil can have adverse effects on the environment. Just one gallon of used oil can make a million gallons of fresh water undrinkable. When used oil is poured down the drain and enters a sewage treatment plant, a very small concentration of oil can foul the treatment processes. A film of oil on a water surface prevents oxygen from entering the water and blocks sunlight. This makes it difficult for plants to grow, thus reducing the animal and plant life in a body of water. Water, air and soil are all connected, and oil can make its way to these media.
Because of these risks, proper management of used oil (refer to used oil regulatory requirements) is a major environmental concern. Illinois state law banned liquid used motor oil from landfills as of July 1, 1996. The ban does not include oil filters, absorbents used to clean up oil spills, or containers which previously contained used oil.
Long term collection sites are in Naperville, Rockford, Chicago, and Lake County. These locations are open to provide area residents with ongoing locations to take their household hazardous waste. Check with these sites to see if used oil is collected and transported to permitted facilities to be used as an alternative fuel source. In addition, many service stations and retail outlets in Illinois are accepting used motor oil for reuse and recycling.