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County holds waste roundup

Posted: April 6, 2013 9:29 p.m.
Updated: April 6, 2013 9:29 p.m.
 

By Luke Money

Signal Staff Writer

 

A steady stream of cars wound through a parking lot at College of the Canyons Saturday as local residents looked to divest themselves of household chemicals and items that are too dangerous to go into the trash.

More than 2,000 people were expected to show up Saturday to take advantage of six hours of free hazardous waste disposal, known as the hazardous waste roundup, offered by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works in partnership with county Sanitation Districts.

About 90 people, many of them decked in white protective suits and blue-green gloves, unloaded the vehicles and sorted the materials, which included old paint, pesticides, used motor oil or antifreeze, along with electronic devices such as televisions, microwaves or computers.

Such items are illegal to discard in trashcans, storm drains or sinks.

But what homeowners consider waste can still be of use, said Joe Reilly, a senior engineer with the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County.

Vinyl paint will be repurposed, Reilly said, into paint that will be used for graffiti removal. Oil-based paint and other flammable materials will be blended and reconstituted as an alternative fuel source.

Computers and other electronic waste will be stripped down for parts or raw materials, such as plastic or metal.

“About 75 to 80 percent of what we get will be recycled in some way,” Reilly said.

Some major exceptions are pesticides and other poisons, which will be destroyed in a furnace, Reilly said.

While the county organizes the event, much of the physical labor is provided by Clean Harbors Environmental Services, a waste disposal firm.

Eric Brown, a hazardous household waste project manager for Clean Harbors, said the event always results in a hefty amount of hazardous waste that is dropped off for disposal.

Paint and old electronics typically make up the majority of materials that are dropped off for disposal, Brown said.

Brown said a typical load for the event results in up to 75,000 pounds of latex paint, more than 100 55-gallon drums of flammable liquids, 1,000 gallons of motor oil, 300 gallons of antifreeze and about 40,000 pounds of electronic waste.

“And that’s just for one event,” Brown said.

Los Angeles County holds anywhere from 55 to 60 such disposal events in a given year, Reilly said.

Disposal events like the one Saturday typically take place annually in Santa Clarita, but Reilly said the county is hoping to hold two a year moving forward.

Lmoney@signalscv.com

661-287-5525

On Twitter @LukeMMoney

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