People lined up at the Jefferson County Highway Department early on Saturday morning to drop off their household hazardous waste items as part of a collection service offered by the county.
Bobbie Meints, Managing Director of Five Rivers Resource, Conservation and Development, an organization which facilitates the collection, explained that a series of grants has helped to make this an annual service.
“This is our fifth consecutive year,” said Meints. “We’ll be back next year and the year after, I’m sure. We’ll apply for another three year grant at that point. The goal is to have it at least every year in all the counties in the Five Rivers area.”
She believes that this is an important service to offer because it helps to dispose of hazardous materials, such as oil, pesticides and paint, in a safe way.
“This is beneficial for numerous reasons: there are health reasons, environmental reasons,” Meints said. “It’s not just the soil quality; it’s the water quality, it’s the air quality. Doing this ensures an overall better quality of life for all of us.”
Meints explained that they are working on a grant to allow for an electronics pick up soon, though she noted there have been difficulties in that process.
“We’re in the process of writing a grant,” said Meints. “We have a hard time finding people to give bids because a lot of people have left that business just because the prices have decreased. We’re hopeful that we can get that and we’ll be able to offer that too.”
Jefferson County Commissioners Michael Dux and Gale Pohlmann were at the event helping to dispose of the materials. Dux explained some of the materials that have been collected.
“We are collecting household hazardous waste,” Dux said. “A high percentage of it is paint. There’s some household chemicals and just a little bit of farm chemicals and some used oil. I believe everything eventually gets incinerated, and it’s certainly a lot better than ending up in the landfills or in the grader ditches.”
He explained that Jefferson County has hosted this service for over ten years and that he believes it is important to offer this collection every year. He explained that the turnout on Saturday has been high.
“Last year we were down a bit on the total collection,” said Dux. “This year, I think we’re way up there. I think for the past six or seven years, our area collected more paint than any of the other areas combined.”
Dux emphasized how grateful he is to have people participate in this service to help keep Jefferson County clean.
“I want to thank the public for their cooperation,” Dux said. “I’m just glad to see these materials aren’t ending up in the landfills or the grader ditches, or even by the side of the street.”