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Waste day sees record response

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Maybe it was the timing of the event, or perhaps more district residents want to properly dispose of hazardous materials.

Whatever the reason, the Town of Fort Frances saw a much better turnout for its annual Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste Day this past Saturday.

“I think it’s the best one we ever had,” said Operations and Facilities manager Doug Brown, adding there was a steady stream of vehicles lined up along Fifth Street West to drop off waste at the Public Works building from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

“I think it was a success, and I think next year we’re going to do it again at the same time of year,” he noted. “The fall seems to be better for us.”

A total of 510 district households turned in waste products. The majority were from Fort Frances, but residents of Alberton, Devlin, Emo, Barwick, Stratton, Alberton, Couchiching FN, Rainy River FN, and Stanjikoming FN, among others, also participated.

In some communities, individuals gathered waste products from their respective neighbours and brought them to the event so they could be properly disposed of.

“We had roughly 20 tonnes of household hazardous waste collected,” said Brown. “The biggest one I’ve ever seen is 16 tonnes. Last year, we were around 11 tonnes.”

Some of the materials turned in this year included:

•10 tonnes of paint;

•362 kg of dry cell and lithium batteries;

•300 kg of paint and oil containers;

•2,400 litres of oil;

•30 kg of oil filters;

•300 kg of pesticides;

•95 propane cylinders;

•500 kg of aerosol cans; and

•three tonnes of car batteries.

The major difference between this year and past hazardous waste collection events is that the town is eligible to receive funding for the processing, disposal, and transportation costs of certain materials (hereafter called Phase One materials), including:

•paints and stains, and their containers;

•solvents such as thinners for paint, lacquer and contact cement, paint strippers and degreasers, and their containers;

•used oil filters;

•oil containers of 30 litres or less for a wide range of oil products, such as engine and marine oils, and hydraulic, power steering, and transmission fluids;

•single use, dry cell batteries such as alkaline-manganese, zinc-carbon, lithium, and button cell batteries (e.g., non-rechargeable batteries that are meant to be removed and replaced by the consumer);

•automotive antifreeze (engine coolant) and related containers;

•pressurized containers such as propane tanks and cylinders;

•fertilizers (e.g., plant food or plant nutrients containing nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium); and

•fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, and pesticides, and their containers.

Brown said Phase One materials comprised roughly 11.8 of the 20.092 tonnes of hazardous or special waste turned in here Saturday.

That means the town will be given funding from Stewardship Ontario (which, in turn, collects money from various industries that make and sell the materials) for the processing, disposal, and transportation costs of that portion of the materials.

On the other hand, the town will have to pay for the processing, disposal, and transportation costs of materials not on that list (such as waste oil, lead acid and nickel-cadium batteries, waste flammable liquids, aerosol containers, and mercury) out its Operations and Facilities budget.

The exact cost is still being calculated, said Brown.

Brown noted the Ministry of Environment’s Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste program will be expanded next year, meaning more materials will be added to the list of what’s subsidized.

For example, Phase Two of the plan will include aerosol cans, portable fire extinguishers, fluorescent lights, rechargeable batteries, pharmaceuticals, syringes, thermostats, and other measuring devices containing mercury.

The hazardous materials were processed, disposed, and transported by Winnipeg-based CleanHarbors Environmental Services Inc., which the town has been working with since 2000.

“It turned out to be a very successful day,” said Ann Hinton, operations manager for CleanHarbors. “There was excellent resident participation for that size of community.”

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