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Missoula Valley Water Quality District
(406) 258-4890
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Missoula Valley Water Quality District

Department: Water Quality District
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Water Quality District - Hazardous Waste

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Propane Tanks & Other Cylinders

What are they?

Propane tanks generally come in two types: refillable tanks, and smaller single-use tanks. The refillable tanks are most commonly used for barbecue grills or space heaters. These tanks are typically designed to hold 20 pounds of propane, and can be refilled many times by a propane dealer. Other cylinders or tanks may contain acetylene gas, helium, or oxygen.

New Regulation Effecting Refillable Tanks

As of April 1, 2002, National Fire Protection Association codes prohibit retailers and tank distributors from refilling propane tanks that do not have an overflow protection device, also referred to as an “OPD” valve. This new rule is in response to a serious injury caused by a service station staff member who accidentally overfilled a propane tank. Some tanks can be retro-fitted with the new overflow protection device, whereas other tanks may need to be recycled.

What Makes it Hazardous?

Propane tanks and other pressurized cylinders present a disposal issue, because they contain a compressed and often highly flammable gas, which has the potential to explode and cause serious injuries to sanitation workers, damage waste hauling vehicles, or waste processing facilities.

Disposal Options



The Residential Disposal Guide is provided by the Missoula Valley Water Quality District as a public service and is not an endorsement of specific businesses, services or products. Any omissions or inaccuracies are unintentional. Please contact us with corrections or additions. Call businesses or agencies to confirm hours, locations and charges for services, if any. For information on disposal of items not listed, email or call the Water Quality District at 406-258-4890, M - F, 8 am to 5 pm.

Much of the information provided is from the Washington County, MN, Dept. of Public Health and Environment website.

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