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Residents appreciate county’s first Hazardous Waste Day

By Phyllis McLaughlin

The Trimble Banner

Sometimes, the success of an event outpaces everyone’s expectations.

Such was the case Saturday, April 24, at the county’s first Household Hazardous Waste Day at Trimble County Park.

County solid-waste coordinator Matt Gossom estimated about 80 vehicles came to the park’s maintanence barn to unload everything from old vehicle batteries to containers of antifreeze, motor oil, pesticides and other toxic materials.

“It was quite the event,” Gossom said. Even though it ended an hour early at 3 p.m., because of rainstorms moving through the area, “the participation was way more than I expected.”

“I think it’s one of the best services the county can provide,” said Charles Liston of Bedford, who brought a trailerload of containers that had been sitting in his barn – some of it for years.

Without the event, “we’d have litter and toxic dumps all over the county,” Liston continued. “I wish they’d do it at least twice a year. I’d be willing to pay [for the service].”

The event was free to all Trimble residents and managed by Louisville-based Safety-Kleen.

The county received an $11,725 grant from the Kentucky Division of Waste Management to fund the event, Gossom said. The county is required to match 25 percent of that amount, plus pay for any extra costs.

He said Safety-Kleen’s bill for hauling away the materials came to about $12,800; Gossom said he’s waiting for a bill from the company that provided on-site chemists, Pollution Control Industries of Memphis, Tenn.

Chemist LaToya Fason of Memphis said she and her colleague, Bill Bahn, also of Memphis, were on hand to test materials that were collected and to make sure unwanted materials were disposed of according to EPA standards.

The total amount of materials collected was not available, but Gossom said they collected about 17 55-gallon drums of “clean” used motor oil. About half of that was collected in the first hour.

The oil, which is not contaminated with water or other substances, will be used to fuel the heating system at the county’s road barn.

Any contaminated used motor oil brought in was poured into seperate drums. Roger Chance, Louisville branch general manager for Safety-Kleen, said the contaminated oil goes to a company facility in Smithfield, Ky., which can separate the components and blend them to produce other types of fuel.

Even containers, if the materials they are made with contain enough residual oil, can be melted and converted into a 5,000-BTU fuel, a low-heat fuel used at cement and asphalt kilns, he said.

“They are doing a great thing here,” Chance said.

Joe Cappo, industrial sales specialist for Safety-Kleen, who worked with Gossom to organize the event, said lead and other metals in the used batteries also can be recaptured and re-used for other purposes.

Cappo said he, too, was impressed by the turnout Saturday. He explained that the company uses a computer model that takes into account the county’s population, the number of farms and other factors, to estimate how many people will participate.

Early Saturday, he said the number of vehicles that had come to the park already exceeded their estimates.

“This is exciting; all this stuff has probably been sitting around for how many years, and we’re getting it off the street and recycled,” he said. “And its a lot better staffed than anticipated. That makes a big difference.”

Gossom said those working the event included county employees and officials, including Jailer Bobby Temple; all four Fiscal Court magistrates – Stephen Stark, David Scott, Nolan Hamilton and Kirby Melvin; and Judge-Executive Randy Stevens.

The employees’ overtime hours will be counted as in-kind donations for the next grant Gossom plans to apply for from the state. If received, the funds would allow the county to hold the event again next year.

“It’s exciting to provide residents a way to dispose of these items ... and keep this stuff off roadsides and from being poured down drains,” Gossom said.