State, Extension service collecting hazardous waste in Sept.

Environmental officer urges residents to take advantage of opportunty to dispose of chemicals

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

Aug 24, 2007 - If you're starting to worry about a veritable toxic waste dump of insecticides, motor oil and other noxious liquids brewing in your back yard, the opportunity to do a little environmental clean-up is coming soon.

Come Sept. 13, area citizens who just don't know what to do with that container of unknown gunk with a skull-and-crossbones symbol on the side can cart the nasty stuff to a safe and legal disposal site in Franklin County.

This collection effort, a collaborative campaign by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and Texas Cooperative Extension Service, is a great and rare opportunity, according to Hopkins County Environmental Quality Investigator Holly Rosamond.

"Our county Extension agent has contacted state environmental officials to try to get them to host a collection day in Hopkins County, but thus far has had no luck," said Rosamond, who added she she receives at least one call a month of these types of items being dumped on county roads. "That’s why it’s important for Hopkins County resident to take note of and take advantage of the offering in Franklin County."

Franklin County Extension Agent Mike Berry will be overseeing the collection from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 13, in the Franklin County Sheriff’s Posse Arena, located on FM 115 south of Mount Vernon.

The collection will be conducted rain or shine. There is no fee, and the products are accepted with no questions asked. The program is strictly voluntary.

Similar operations will be conducted in September in five other counties across the state. The disposal services are open to all Texas residents to provide a safe means to rid themselves of agricultural chemicals, including some banned or unwanted products, and pesticides used for agricultural production in the state.

Items that can be left at the collections include:

n Pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, rodenticides, nematicides and bactericides, but with limitations. Herbicides containing five gallons or more of 2, 4, 5-T or 2, 4, 5-TP (Silvex), and pesticides with wood preservatives containing five gallons or more of pentachlorophenol won’t be accepted.

n Growth regulators, harvest aid chemicals, and pesticides used on livestock.

n Substances placed in a container labeled “unknown."

n Lead-acid batteries, oil, grease, transmission fluid, diesel fuel, power steering fluid, paint, gasoline, brake fluid and fluorescent bulbs.

n Oil filters may also be disposed of, but participants will be limited to two 55-gallon drums. Oil and filters will not be accepted from businesses that change oil for a fee.

n Properly rinsed plastic pesticide containers may be disposed of. To dispose of large quantities of pesticide containers, contact U.S. AgRecycling at 1-800-654-3145 to arrange a free pickup.

What TCEQ will not be accepting at the collections are tires, radioactive materials, explosives, household materials, compressed gas cylinders, biomedical wastes, ammunition, fertilizers, or nutrient materials that are neither hazardous or contain pesticide admixtures. 

Wastes from chemical distributors or dealers, school chemistry or biology labs, and franchise pesticide applicators certified by the Texas Structural Pest Control board won’t be accepted, either. The same goes for materials from outside Texas.

More information about the Agricultural Waste Pesticide Collection can be found online at www.tceq.state.tx.us/assistance/AgWaste/agwaste.html, or send an e-mail to: recycle@tceq.state.tx.us.  TCEQ can also be reached by phone at 512-239-3143.

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