Richland Sanitation officials remind residents, as we start off a new year, to NOT include any cellphone or other lithium ion batteries with their trash. These are not the AA or AAA batteries commonly used in TV remotes, or children's toys.

If you pop off the back of your cellphone, you will see one of these style batteries. They're used to power virtually every digital device. Much bigger versions are the ones used in electric or hybrid cars.

The reason for the warning is the Horn Rapids Landfill has seen it's share of fires the last few years, including a couple in 2018.  Those fires, combined with reports of others at landfills on the West Coast, are due to these batteries sparking fires.

It happens commonly in one of two ways. Although they're considered 'dead' (too weak to power a device or worn out) they still can spark. The terminals often come in contact with other metals creating sparks. Or the battery case becomes damaged and the lithium ion item explodes. 65 percent of landfill fires in CA are said to be attributed to lithium ion causes.

If you do need to replace such batteries, check with your local City Hall about when and where there are drop off sites or events. Place the batteries in a zip lock bag and dispose of them properly. Don't just throw them in the trash, they could cause a fire.