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Cleaning house: Hazardous waste collection event sees big turnout

| May 3, 2021 1:00 AM

MOSES LAKE — Grant County’s Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event, at the Grant County Road District 2 Shop, 12171 Wheeler Road in Moses Lake, brought in more than 200 carloads of hazardous waste for public works staff to sort into 200-liter black steel drums for proper disposal.

The event was much busier than usual, said Joan Sieverkropp, Grant County Solid Waste program coordinator. Through PaintCare, a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit, they can accept latex paint, which brought a lot of folks down.

“We haven’t taken latex paint for years, so we had all these people going crazy bringing latex paint,” Sieverkropp said.

PaintCare takes the leftover paint and sells it to retailers who will remix it into recycling paint, fuel, other products or otherwise dispose of it.

As usual, the event also accepted oil-based paint, oil stain, adhesives, rechargeable batteries, lithium batteries, aerosols, paint thinners, household cleaners, corrosives, pesticides, herbicides, photo chemicals, pool chemicals, gasoline, road flares, elemental mercury, fire extinguishers, mercury thermometers, antifreeze, brake fluid and waste oil.

As organic matter decomposes in the landfill, it releases methane, said Grant County Public Works Director Sam Castro. Any number of things on the household hazardous waste list can ignite the methane if it’s not properly disposed of. Commonly, it’s a lithium battery.

Although the Ephrata Landfill Recycling Center takes lithium batteries year-round, Seiverkropp said, keeping them out of the landfill has been an ongoing problem.

Additionally, many of the items on the list, such as antifreeze, are poisonous, she said, so keeping them out of the home is just as important as keeping them out of the landfill.

The next Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event will be in September, she said. The events are 75% paid for by the Department of Ecology’s Local Solid Waste Financial Assistance Program, and 25% paid for by county tipping fees. Once the Department of Ecology approves, the final date will be announced.

Sam Fletcher can be reached via email at sfletcher@columbiabasinherald.com.

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Sam Fletcher/Columbia Basin Herald

Public Works staff Matthew Monroe collect material from cars at the Household Hazardous Waste event on Saturday.

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Sam Fletcher/Columbia Basin Herald

Public Works staff Jacob Beck loads hazardous material drums into a truck at the Household Hazardous Waste event on Saturday.

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Sam Fletcher/Columbia Basin Herald

Grant County Public Works Solid Waste program coordinator Joan Sieverkropp takes inventory on incoming waste at the Household Hazardous Waste event on Saturday.