Building on the success of last year, Webster Parish Police Jury (WPPJ) environmental chairman Charles Odom is calling out again for parish citizens' old electronics, household chemicals, paint and other household hazardous waste.
WPPJ, Allied Waste, Tony's Salvage and Citizens Against Pollution (CAP) will hold the second Webster Parish Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day on Saturday October 20, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Minden Fair Grounds.
"We are excited again to offer the opportunity for residents of Webster Parish to be able to recycle and dispose of these household items that most folks really don't know what to do with," said Odom.
Last year, approximately 200 vehicles snaked their way through the assembly line style layout, some more than once according to Odom.
"We took in about 300 tires, I think 50 came from Springhill," Odom said. "People brought in more medication than we expected."
Drivers and passengers waited in their vehicles, while volunteers and other helpers from Camp Minden Youth Challenge Program (YCP) and Bayou Dorcheat Correction Center (BDCC) did the unloading.
Some removed tires, some oils, others electronics, even more lifted heavy appliances and TV's. Finally, paint was mixed in 50-gallon drums and transferred to 5 gallon buckets.
"This is a great setup ... they've got the right protective clothing and everything to help them handle this stuff," Minden resident James Warmack said last year. "I work with OSHA regulations, everything I see here is top notch, streamlined and it's just the way it ought to be. It's a great thing they are doing here."
John Gill, of grassroots Webster Parish environmental non-profit CAP, said he hoped for greater awareness this year.
"I just wish that more of the citizens of Webster Parish would have participated [last year]," Gill said. "We (CAP) want to educate citizens that we can do things better so that our kids and our grand kids can have a better environment to live in."
According to PSC Environmental Services Household Hazardous Waste Business Manager Kelby Neal, household hazardous waste presents many potential dangers to the environment and sanitation workers.
"There have been many cases of garbage trucks catching on fire from household materials. It happens all the time," said Neal. "When garbage is compacted, everything mixes together. Even non-flammable chemicals can combine in the trucks and start a fire."
Pouring household chemicals down the drain is also a risk.
"A heavy cleaner or similar chemical can kill what they call the 'good bugs' in a wastewater treatment plant," Neal said. "Bacteria and protozoa are often essential in the processing of wastewater."
The collection is free to Webster Parish residents. A driver's license or other proof of residency such as a water bill is required. Commercial waste will not be accepted.
Old electronics, appliances and batteries will be accepted along with medication, household chemicals, oil, tires and paint.
"Tires with up to a 20 inch rim will also be accepted, limit fivg tires per household, and the tires must be off the rims," said Odom.
Paint will be available for free to anyone who has a use for it.
"If they don't mind the color," said Odom.
Some waste will not be accepted. Infectious and medical wastes (other than medication), biological and radioactive materials, compressed gas cylinders, ammunition, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and explosives are prohibited.
Anyone worried about unloading large items can feel secure, according to Odom, cadets from Camp Minden Youth Challenge Program and others will be on-hand again to help unload vehicles.