By Mason W. Canales
Killeen Daily Herald
The Central Texas Council of Governments postponed its household hazardous waste collection day in Belton on Saturday because it ran out of funds for the program. But CTCOG members are pleased with the collections so far.
The collection days allow residents to drop off items such as motor oil, antifreeze, pesticides and other hazardous wastes.
"They have been extremely successful," said Jennifer Lawyer, CTCOG project coordinator for resource conservation. "They were so successful this fiscal year that we unfortunately ran out of money" before the Belton date.
CTCOG pays for the waste collection and disposal with money it received from a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality grant, Lawyer said.
The grant covers the cost of a contract to hire a company to dispose of the material, said Annette Shepherd, CTCOG planning and regional services director. So when an event such as the one in Lampasas receives a lot of participation from residents, it cost more money to haul away the waste.
That grant is usually in the amount of about $105,000 and the cost of one Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day event is about $25,000, with host cities picking up some slack to organize the event, such as finding volunteers and finding a site, Lawyer said.
While CTCOG conducted three of its four planned events this year and is hoping to hold one in Belton this fall, it is never sure it will have the money to hold all the planned events.
"It is all dependent on what the state does, if they decide to pass that funding," Shepherd said.
The Legislature decides how to spend money on such grants; the amount of the hazardous waste collection grant always seems to be shrinking while the popularity of the event is growing, Shepherd said. But as long as the grant exists, CTCOG will apply for it, she said.
"This is an event that (residents) really like. That is information we pass back up so the state knows that," Shepherd said.
Since its first collection day in June 2003, CTCOG has collected more than 500,000 pounds of hazardous materials and more than 30,000 tires, not including this year's collection, Lawyer said.
"(The event) is extremely important in our seven-county region. There is no permanent household hazardous waste facility so (residents) have to either hold on to it or wait for an event like this," Lawyer said.
Contact Mason W. Canales at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7554.