Sunday, October 19, 2003

Safe disposal of chemicals is new trend

By Dan Klepal
The Cincinnati Enquirer

FOREST PARK - The line of cars stretched around the Winton Woods High School parking lot Saturday morning, down Kemper Road, through two stoplights and ended, finally, at Winton Road.

Football game? Concert? Parade?

No, no and no.

More than 2,500 cars, vans and trucks filled with household hazardous materials showed up at the high school. Hamilton County's Department of Environmental Services held a day-long dropoff, where people could get rid of old paint, gasoline, oil, batteries, pesticides, cleaning agents and other materials free of charge.

What: Fourth and final home hazardous dropoff day.
Where: Coney Island, Anderson Township.
When: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.
Acceptable items: Automotive fluids, pesticides/fertilizers, solvents and thinners, batteries, cleaners, lawn chemicals, pool chemicals and paint.
With about 200 tons of materials collected, it was the largest and most successful event in at least the past five years. Another dropoff is scheduled next Saturday at Coney Island.

"I'm rarely speechless, but I am today," said Holly Christmann, community outreach coordinator for the county's Solid Waste Management District. "We're backed up two stoplights. None of us expected this."

The event is held to save people money - materials such as these can cost as much as $1 per pound to dispose of properly - and to make sure the materials do not pollute the environment. If dumped into a sewer or down a drain, many of these chemicals could harm wastewater treatment plants.

Hamilton County will spend about $110,000 making sure the materials are recycled or incinerated.

"This is costly stuff to handle," said Jeff Aluotto, manager of the Solid Waste Management District.

It was a long wait for Augustus Williams to get rid of his paint. But the 79-year-old Springfield Township man didn't mind.

"I was surprised to see the length of the line," Williams said. "But I would think it was worth the wait. This stuff has been accumulating in my house for quite some time."

Mark Bales, a 39-year-old Evendale resident, took advantage of the opportunity to help his neighbors empty their homes of unwanted chemicals.

"I stopped by a couple of my neighbors' houses," he said. "This is awesome. It's great to see the community doing this."


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