By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor
The Harrison County Solid Waste Authority (HCSWA) is still waiting for totals from the hazardous waste disposal event that took place last Saturday at the Bridgeport Recreation Complex; however, they know that almost 1,000 vehicles were run through the line between the hours of 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.
According to Richard Barnett, Executive Director of HCSWA, the event far exceeded their expectations! “We certainly learned from this project,” he stated. “We had such overwhelming participation from folks in the area, so we realize how much something like this was needed and we would like to try to have it again in the future.”
The Solid Waste Authority applied for and received a grant to do this, and they also secured additional sponsors because it is not an inexpensive event to host. Unfortunately, it may be a while before it is held again.
“We at first thought of having another event in the spring, but we exceeded our funding this time and SWA covered the difference,” Barnett stated. “It will take a little time to look for more funding so that we can put one of these events together again … and perhaps we can do it more routinely.”
Barnett said that everyone is guilty of letting old paint cans and such gather in their basements and garages, and it can soon get out of hand. Therefore, many people took advantage of this opportunity to clean out things like old paint cans, paint thinners, fluorescent light tubes, motor oil, insecticides, antifreeze, aerosol cans, batteries, etc.
“We are pleased, though, that so many are observing the proper disposal of items such as these in good conscience,” Barnett added.
Although the event was not scheduled to open until 8 a.m., a long line had already formed before 7 a.m., so workers got started at approximately 7:05 allowing the drive-thru drop-off to begin. Barnett says that some people waited as long as an hour and a half to reach the drop-off point!
“Apparently many people expected a huge crowd and showed up very early,” he said. “It is ½ mile from where you turn in to the Recreation Complex to the parking lot and then another 100 yards and they had two lanes going to speed things along! Despite the long wait, the public was pretty patient – after all, it was a free service. The workers were organized and pushed vehicles through as fast as they could – averaging a car every 2-3 minutes, but there was a long line of cars. We were pleased with them; they worked a solid seven hours steadily, without a break and did a tremendous job of taking care of the public as quickly as they possibly could.”
A hazardous waste disposal event was held in Morgantown on the same day and the same company from Ohio provided the service there as well. There was such a tremendous crowd in Bridgeport, though, they made a call and pulled not only some employees but a few trucks from Morgantown to the Harrison County event to accommodate the massive traffic lineup here!
“Lots of counties charge for this, but we don’t and never have here in Harrison County,” Barnett continued. “Also, some places put conditions on what individuals can bring … for instance, no latex paint was allowed at Saturday’s similar event in Morgantown. Those could be reasons why we get such terrific attendance; it’s free and no restrictions (with the exception of explosives).”
Harrison County also holds recycling events periodically for electronics and tires, and a couple of document shredding events have been held in Bridgeport.
“The Harrison County Solid Waste Authority does a lot of advertising to promote recycling and responsible disposal in our area and all of these events in Harrison County are extremely well attended,” Barnett concluded. “In fact, Harrison County has some of the most well-attended events in the state! We are very pleased about that and just overwhelmed to have experienced such great success with this event. It was obviously a needed project to host and we will certainly consider having another when funds are available. We thank all of those who partnered with us to sponsor this event as well as all those who took advantage of it.”