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Fall Clean Sweep collection slightly lower than year ago

Participation and collection numbers from this fall's Clean Sweep at Pierce County's recycling center in Ellsworth were slightly lower than those from the same event the previous fall.

Two-hundred-thirty vehicles were surveyed at the Clean Sweep conducted by the Pierce County Solid Waste Department on Sept. 16, according to a report from the department. At the fall 2005 event, 254 vehicles were surveyed.

A combined total of 19,881 pounds of agricultural, household and business hazardous waste were collected this fall, compared to 20,843 pounds a year earlier.

While the waste in four of the vehicles this time was defined as only agricultural waste, what was brought in 198 vehicles was said to be only household waste. In 12 vehicles, it was defined as both kinds, in one as ag and business, in another one as household and business, and in four as only business waste.

The 890 pounds of ag hazardous waste collected this fall translates into an average weight of 33 pounds per farm. The most notable such waste included six pounds of atrazine and five pounds of 2-4-D, listed as Banned/Suspended/Canceled/Target Chemicals. Two non-ag businesses attended the event and delivered 620 pounds of hazardous waste.

The 890 total pounds of ag waste this fall was 330 pounds more than the 560 pounds collected in the fall of '05.

The majority of the total waste in the latest collection was household hazardous waste, at 18,731 pounds. It was separated into these categories: six pounds of mercury, 700 pounds of pesticides/poisons, 560 pounds of caustics/corrosives, 525 pounds of solvents/thinners, 690 pounds of aerosols, 50 pounds of dioxins, 5,965 pounds of lead/oil-based paint, 9,743 pounds of latex paint and 132 pounds of household waste defined as "other."

The average weight collected per household was 89 pounds.

Six businesses attended this fall's event. However, only two of the six delivered hazardous waste and four delivered special waste items.

Other items were allowed from participants. Among them and their amounts were: approximately 400 gallons of waste oil, one 55-gallon drum of oil filters, 25 gallons of anti-freeze, 90 lead acid batteries and one pound of household hazardous batteries. Additionally, there were approximately 41 appliances, 81 electronic-type items, 149 fluorescent-type bulbs, 45 tires, five tons of scrap metal and over 30 yards of miscellaneous trash.

Mercury thermometers and thermostats were collected as well, with participants delivering approximately two pounds of them.

Survey results from this fall's Clean Sweep indicated concerns for the environment and family safety were the most influencing reasons for people to attend. A majority of participants traveled between one and 15 miles to attend. Approximately 72 percent said they preferred the county continues holding two hazardous waste collection events annually.

An ag program was held in conjunction with the household program. Local expenses, in-kind labor and in-kind costs were all split equally between the two.

The cost for this fall's event totaled $27,788.53, reflecting $120.82 per participant. Those figures compare with $24,338 total and $127.42 per participant in the fall a year ago.

Plans are to hold an ag and household program together again in both the spring and fall of 2007. A business program in conjunction with these is also planned.