rural waste: Hazardous Wastes Faces the Rural Round-up

If you think rural counties don't know how to properly dispose of household hazardous wastes (HHW), just ask Clinton County, Iowa.

By providing a temporary storage facility (TSF) for HHW and a mobile unit to collect it throughout a three-county area, Clinton County is managing to put HHW where it belongs in a safe and economical way.

In fact, since 1994, its low-key, low-budget HHW program has diverted 637,398 pounds of hazardous materials from its waste stream.

Developed through state legislation and funded by a regional collection center (RCC) grant from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), the HHW program serves Clinton, Cedar and Jackson counties.

The regional concept was chosen due to the distances involved and the economies of scale. Since small counties can't afford the cost of a permanent program for small quantities of this type of waste, a TSF was created at the Clinton County Landfill for use by the three counties.

The waste is collected by a mobile unit which travels to the outlying areas in the spring, summer and fall.

The tri-county RCC program is staffed by the Clinton County Area Solid Waste Agency Administrator, managers from Cedar and Jackson counties, a trained site supervisor and an education coordinator.

While the TSF accepts materials from both residents and from conditionally exempt small quantity generator (CESQG) businesses, the mobile unit accepts HHW only from residents.

Residents disposing HHW at the TSF complete a short survey with information about the wastes' origin and its generator, and how they heard about the program. Then, their materials are unloaded and checked. If a container does not have a label, the residents are asked to help determine the nature of the material.

The HHW is categorized and stored by hazard class. Flammables and oil-based paints are bulked separately. Other materials such as poisons, dioxins, pesticides and acids are lab packed. All materials are packaged into DOT-approved drums, labeled and manifested for shipment to a licensed hazardous materials disposal facility.

CESQG businesses are responsible for their hazardous materials from cradle to grave. They first must meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidelines and then supply the collection center with information describing business type, materials disposed and how these materials were used in their operation.

The site supervisor meets with the business where they are told where their wastes are disposed. The supervisor completes and faxes all necessary DOT bill of lading requirements.

Finally, the materials are packaged for temporary storage and shipment.

Communities hosting a cleanup using the mobile unit are responsible for the entire event, from unloading the vehicles to sorting and bulking the oil-based paint and flammables. The materials are packed and moved to the temporary storage facility until it is shipped to a HHW disposal facility.

When the program began, each county held latex paint cleanups. County residents dropped off leftover latex paint which was sorted, with usable paint bulked for reuse. Unusable paint was solidified and landfilled.

Residents are encouraged to dry latex paint at home and dispose of it with their garbage. However, the RCC staff will accept it if it is brought to the temporary storage facility or mobile unit site.

The program includes a part-time education coordinator and a toll-free "answer line." In addition, education packages, including four books and one video, were bought with grant money and donated to all county public and school libraries.

Other program activities include tours of the county's solid waste facilities and a seminar for CESQG businesses to explain the program and offer assistance.

Acquisitions Waste Connections Inc., Roseville, Calif., has acquired selected solid waste assets of Hunter Enterprises, Blackfoot, Idaho, and Madera Disposal Systems Inc., Madera County, Calif.

Scranton Manufacturing Co. Inc., Scranton, Iowa, has acquired Bridgeport Truck Manufacturing's (Bridgeport, Texas) refuse product line.

American Disposal Services Inc., Burr Ridge, Ill., has acquired 10 companies which are situated in its existing markets.

Approval Superior Services Inc., West Allis, Wis., received approval from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on its plan to operate the Superior Hickory Meadows Landfill in Chilton.