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Ag waste up, rest down at Clean Sweep

The agricultural hazardous waste amount collected at this spring’s Pierce County Clean Sweep increased significantly over spring of 2013, but the totals for other categories showed decreases, according to a report from the county’s solid waste department.

The total combined waste collected at the April 12 event—held a week earlier than usual due to a conflict with the Easter holiday weekend—was 24,678 pounds, a decrease of 7,595 pounds from the previous spring’s 32,273 pounds. Two hundred eighty-seven vehicles attended the event on a day which was cooler than normal for the time of year and included occasional rain showers, down by 26 vehicles from the 313 attending the year before. The average weight of waste delivered/collected per vehicle this time was 86 pounds, a decrease of 19 pounds from the previous spring.

On the plus side, a total of 5,162 pounds of agricultural hazardous waste was collected this spring from 31 farms, which was a sharp increase of 3,217 pounds over the 1,945 pounds recorded a year earlier. The average weight of ag hazardous waste collected per farm was 167 pounds, also a sharp increase of 111 pounds over the 56 pounds taken in ‘13’s spring. Some of the most notable ag hazardous waste collected in the latest event was the 85 pounds of 2,4-D, 35 pounds of atrazine, 10 pounds of mercury elemental, 15 pounds of mercury containing chemicals and one pound of strychnine. All of the chemicals are on the targeted, cancelled suspended and banned chemical list.

Otherwise this time, a total of 8,591 pounds of hazardous waste was collected from 281 households, a decrease of 3,177 pounds when compared to the 11,768 pounds recorded in the spring of ’13. The average weight of the latest waste collected per household was 31 pounds, down by eight pounds from the previous year. Some of the notable household waste most recently collected were the 4,999 pounds of lead/oil paint, 1,528 pounds of pesticides and poisons, 658 pounds of solvents and thinners, 642 pounds of aerosol cans, 612 pounds of caustics and corrosives, 61 pounds of reactives, 73 pounds of mercury and 18 pounds of dioxins.

A total of 2,025 pounds of waste was collected this spring from three VSQG (Very Small Quantity Generator) businesses, a significant decrease of 5,433 pounds from the 7,458 pounds in the spring of ’13. The average weight of waste collected per VSQG was 675 pounds, down by 154 pounds from a year earlier.

For more please read the July 2 print version of the Herald. 

Bill Kirk

Bill Kirk was editor of the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth, from 1988 to February, 2015 and is now on staff as a reporter. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He previously worked in the media distribution department at the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus and is past editor of The Tri-County News in Osseo, Wisconsin.

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