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Hazardous waste day tops last year

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Perhaps it was the sunny weather, an ideal location, or a combination of both, but Household Hazardous Waste Day 2002 already had yielded more returns than last year in just the first three hours here Saturday.

“It went really well. We’re always a bit nervous, with the expense and wondering if people are going to show up, but it turned out to be a success,” said Martin Nantel, co-ordinator of the Rainy River First Nation Watershed Program, which co-sponsored the second-annual event.

Running from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Public Works building on the corner of Fifth Street West and Wright Avenue, between 80 and 100 people turned up to dispose of household hazardous waste.

“I was somewhat expecting more people but maybe that’s my optimistic nature,” chuckled Nantel. “It was a better turnout than last year [in Emo], but the community is bigger.

“It’s like comparing apples and oranges.

“But the idea of setting up in the Fort was good one, there’s a solid population base,” he added, noting most people turning in waste products were town residents, with a small number from Couchiching First Nation, Devlin, and Morley, among others.

“I hope there’s a way to make this sustainable, a yearly thing. The only tricky thing is deciding what municipality to have it in, when you have more success in one than another,” remarked Nantel, referring to the fact waste day was financially supported by Rainy River First Nations, the municipalities of Fort Frances, Emo, and Morley, Environment Canada, the Rainy River Valley Safety Coalition, and the Rainy River Valley Field Naturalists.

With the good turnout Saturday, support of waste day was clear. “At least you know they’re getting rid of it,” said Coun. Sharon Tibbs, who was dropping off some items that afternoon.

“All the feedback was great. People said we should do this every year,” noted Nantel. “There’s seems to be a demand.”

Waste products turned in Saturday included mercury, glues, batteries, drain cleaners, oven cleaners, pesticides, rat poison, pharmaceuticals, cleaning fluids, pool chemicals, bleach, ammonia, aerosols, paints/solvents, oils/gasoline, barbecue starter fluid, and propane cylinders.

Exact figures as to how much waste, and what types, still were being compiled by Safety-Kleen Chemical Services Division of Winnipeg. Its report will be sent out to the program’s partners in the next month or so.

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