CATEGORY: Pontotoc County
HED:Now is time to throw away hazardous waste
By LaRaye Brown
PONTOTOC - If you've got hazardous household chemicals around the house, your day to throw them away is coming.
The Department of Environmental Quality has awarded grants to Three Rivers Solid Waste Management Authority for Lee and Union counties for Right Way To Throw Away Days, April 19 and April 26.
As part of the program, Three Rivers will set up collection points in New Albany and Verona. Residents are encouraged to bring old tires, motor oil, household cleaners, fertilizers, gasolines and its additives and paints and thinners.
The program does not take radioactive, biological or infectious materials.
Grants that support the program are funded through 7.5 percent of every dollar that the Department of Environmental Quality collects on solid waste disposal tipping fees. Grant recipients are also required to contribute an additional 25 percent to the program.
Three Rivers received a $25,000 grant to support Lee County's Right Way to Throw Away Day and $15,000 to support Union County's. Three Rivers will contribute $6,250 in in-kind services for Lee County and $3,750 in in-kind services for Union County.
Last year, programs were sponsored in Lafayette and Lee counties, and in-kind services included Three Rivers volunteers acting as traffic cops and loaders and unloaders of the waste.
"Local governments and local residences have not had out-of-pocket expenses," said Mid Brown, Three Rivers data analyst.
"Last year in Lee County, we feel like it was very successful for it being a first time," Brown said. "Since then we have had so many phone calls from residents saying 'when is the next one' that this year I feel it will be even more successful."
Last year, Three Rivers received a $15,311 grant for Lee County and a $7,125 grant on behalf of Lafayette County. In Lee County, 334 residents visited the collection point, bringing auto batteries, paints, used oil, tires and hazardous chemicals. In Lafayette County, 125 residents dropped off items.
Lafayette's County's "was successful, but not as much as I hoped it had been," Brown said. However, "those who were interested in getting stuff brought in, got it there."
Across the state, hazardous waste was picked up from 4,375 residents in 1996 in 12 places such as Jackson, Hancock County and George County.
In 1997, days are scheduled for nearly 20 areas, such as Ocean Springs, Starkville, West Point, Jackson and Harrison County, with grants totaling more than $300,000.
"We've been in 20 communities since (the program began in) 1993," said Mario Baroni of the Office of Pollution Control in Jackson. "Some of them have been multiple sites, but not more than one per year."
Each year, Three Rivers Solid Waste Management Authority applies for the grants on behalf of the eight counties it serves.
The Lee County site is in Verona at the Lee County Agricenter on April 19 from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. The New Albany site is tentatively at the Wal-Mart Supercenter on April 26 from 8 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
To volunteer to work at one of the collection sites or for more information, contact Brown at Three Rivers in Pontotoc at 489-2415.