Spike seen in toxic waste
The county transfer station intercepted more mercury laced fluorescent tubes, used batteries and hazardous waste then anticipated this year, leading managers to request an additional $100,000 to dispose of the materials.
The need for more funding won’t lead to an increase in fees, at least for now, said Solid Waste Manager Steve Porter. The amount of hazardous waste is expected to grow in coming years.
“We didn’t really have any idea what we would collect,” Porter said.
The hazardous waste collection center opened in May of 2006. Waste managers used census data and knowledge of past hazardous waste collections to predict figures when the contract went to bid, Porter said.
On Tuesday, Nevada County Board of Supervisors approved an additional $100,000 to cover costs for transporting, recycling and disposing of hazardous waste from the transfer station on McCourtney Road.
“We have received more than expected quantities of household and business hazardous waste for this period,” wrote Nick Zaninovich, director of the department of sanitation. The contract amount of $150,000 will not cover expenses for July through October, he continued.
The board first awarded a contract with 21st Century Environmental Management, Inc. of Nevada on Oct. 31 2006. The additional funding will come from reserves generated from gate fees and parcel charges, Porter said.
From July 2006 to June 2007, the McCourtney Road Transfer Station collected 926,253 pounds of hazardous waste, including 179,400 car batteries, 654,447 pounds of electronic waste and 136,205 pounds of oil based paint, said Recycling Technician Daria Kent.
“You can’t turn anyone away. You have to take it,” Porter said.
With state waste disposal requirements tightening in recent years, Porter anticipates the number of pounds of hazardous waste to grow in the future.
“We predict there will be more items that will be required to be separated from municipal solid waste,” Porter said. Items such as electronics and appliances will probably come next, Porter predicted.
The county can’t credit the additional collections toward a state mandate to divert 50 percent of the waste stream, a mark the county has missed since 2000.
“They don’t count it unfortunately,” Porter said.
To contact Staff Writer Laura Brown, e-mail email@example.com
A year’s worth of waste at the county dump includes:
• 926,253 pounds of hazardous waste
• 179,400 pounds of car batteries
• 654,447 pounds of electronic waste
• 136,205 pounds of oil based paint
Source: Nevada County transfer station
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