Besides, Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day — a time of unparalleled government, business and public partnership — is only four days away.
On Saturday, April 7, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Bradley County residents — free of charge — are invited to bring their household hazardous wastes to the Tri-State Exhibition Center for proper disposal. Volunteers will do all the work on-site. All the residents are asked to do is to bring their discarded materials because most should not be poured down drains, tossed into trash bags that are headed for the Bradley County Landfill or mixed together.
And definitely not mixed together.
“Products such as pool chemicals and bleaches can react violently with other materials, and explode or produce toxic gases,” Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis wrote in this week’s edition of his “Our County” column to be published in Tuesday’s edition of the Cleveland Daily Banner. “Lawn and garden, or agricultural chemicals can be toxic if inhaled or ingested and may cause cancer, birth defects or other serious medical problems.”
This is why five partners — the Bradley County mayor’s office, Santek Environmental, Cleveland Utilities, Tri-State Exhibition Center and Cleveland/Bradley Keep America Beautiful — are again tag-teaming to encourage all city and county residents to take a positive step for the environment by properly discarding their household contaminants.
Dumped down a drain, emptied onto the ground or allowed to sit unnoticed for years in a shed or utility room while slowly leaking their toxic contents will eventually poison area groundwater and surface water supplies.
“The average household contains between three to 10 gallons of waste materials which include many things that [our residents] may be storing right now in [their] garage, basement, bathroom or kitchen,” the Davis newspaper column cites. “Some items, like paint thinner or old car batteries, are pretty obvious. Others, such as polishes, insecticides, mercury thermometers and glues may be overlooked.”
He added, “These materials are too dangerous to simply be placed in a garbage can. Many of these items may be flammable.”
The five-headed partnership is one of cooperation and common cause. The mayor’s office is budgeting $50,000 for the initiative which two years ago had been paid by the state of Tennessee; however, the ongoing four-year recession forced Nashville leaders to discontinue support of the local initiative.
Santek Environmental has paid for the printing of 34,500 HHWCD fliers. Cleveland Utilities has distributed the pamphlets in its monthly billing statements to customers. And KAB will provide volunteers at the Tri-State site Saturday to assist with data collection and to help orchestrate the flow of products being brought in by hundreds of local residents.
Davis said Bradley County chose not to pull the plug on the environmentally-friendly program in spite of the loss of state funding.
“Because of its importance to county residents and the environment, Bradley County government now pays for the event through our Solid Waste Landfill Revenue,” the mayor pointed out. “Thanks to good management and our partnership with Santek Environmental, Bradley County is one of very few counties in Tennessee with a Landfill Fund.”
Davis added, “State law allows the county to use these funds for events such as Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day.”
HHWCD is also about more than the environment.
“Leaving these chemicals or household hazardous wastes around the house can pose a threat to children and pets,” the mayor stressed. “But the improper disposal of these products can contaminate groundwater, drinking water and soil.”
Area residents participating in Saturday’s collection day are reminded special care is needed for the disposal of some items. For this reason, those dropping off materials from their homes are asked to follow these steps:
1. Leave the products in their original containers.
2. Re-label containers that have lost their originally packaged label.
3. Do not mix two or more products in their original containers.
4. Place items in a cardboard box, preferably lined with newspaper or plastic.
Some of the items that will be accepted include oil and fuel additives, grease and rust solvents, fuel cleaners, starter fluids, antifreeze and coolant, gasoline, oil-based paint, strippers and thinners, adhesives, driveway sealant, roofing tar, wallpaper remover, stains and varnishes, pesticides, fertilizers, wood preservatives, pool chemicals, photo processing chemicals, medicines and drugs, aerosols and compressed gas, mercury thermostats and thermometers, fluorescent tubes, CPUs, TVs (console TVs must be dismantled), monitors, printers and keyboards.
Items that cannot be accepted are needles and sharps, infectious wastes, dead animals, waste from a doctor’s office, clinic or veterinarian office, fireworks, military ordnance, gun powder, ammunition, smoke detectors, radium paint, business and institutional waste, empty containers of any kind, automotive gas tanks, laboratory chemicals and cooking oil.
As always, recyclable items like used oils, antifreeze and lead batteries are recycled free of charge at the Bradley County Landfill year-round.
Additional information may be obtained at 303-7101.
“Each citizen has a vested interest in disposing of these household hazardous wastes,” Davis said. “By doing so, we help preserve the Bradley County Landfill while reducing contaminants that seep into our groundwater and surface water.”
He added, “This is another example of community partnerships working together for a common good.”