Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Centre County Recycling & Refuse Authority Reports Nearly 48,000 Pounds Of Household Hazardous Waste Collected

Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority reported nearly 48,000 pounds of household hazardous waste was collected this past weekend from 848 participants at the free annual drop off event.

Comments from residents were extremely positive and they appreciated continuous traffic flow.  They were in and out of the facility in minutes.  They also valued staff waiting to greet them and were grateful for the opportunity to safely dispose of hazardous items from their homes.

“We were happy to wrap up Earth month with this valued, community event.  Between the Green Community Partnership Luncheon, Watershed Clean Up Day and now our Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event, we are trying to do our part to help keep Centre County a clean, green and safe place to live.” said Mimi Cooper, the Authority’s Recycling Coordinator.   

Explosive Material Safely Disposed Of

On Friday, the event was temporarily halted due to a potentially explosive material that was quickly identified by MXI, the vendor hired to conduct the event. 

Two bottles of diaethylaether diethyl ether and another containing sulfuric acid were deemed unstable by Centre Region HAZMAT team and were safely disposed of on site several hours later.  

College Township residents may have heard an explosion approximately 4:30 Friday afternoon, which was the result of a counter charge explosive utilized to eliminate the potential hazard.  

Other potentially volatile materials such as calcium carbide and acetylene were also brought in by homeowners.  These materials are expensive to dispose of properly and pose a hazard to anyone who may encounter them.  

This collection is done annually to provide residents the ability to dispose of these materials properly and at no cost to residents. 

CCRRA Executive Director Ted Onufrak wants county residents to continue to take advantage of this free service.  

“There are unknown substances like this in many homes, garages and outbuildings. We don’t expect residents to be able to identify every explosive substance but if you have any doubts please contact us.  What happened Friday is exactly the reason we hold this event.  If residents had put some of these materials out for regular trash collection, trash haulers, authority employees and even bystanders could have been seriously injured. Similarly, first responders arriving at these residences for another emergency would also be at risk.”

This event costs approximately $100,000 and is incorporated into the fees the CCRRA charges for the recycling and municipal waste disposal services it provides.

The CCRRA would like to thank the employees of MXI who quickly identified and isolated these materials; Centre Region HAZMAT, the Penn State University Bomb Squad and other first responders for their rapid and professional response; and those homeowners who participated in the two day event. 

Getting these materials out of the waste stream and properly disposed of is something we hope all residents will continue to work with us to achieve.

The event was co-sponsored by Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority, the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Agriculture.  

MXI of Langhorne, PA was the successful contractor.

If you missed this collection, look for information early next year.  The Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority will be holding another Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event in the spring of 2025.  

[Posted: April 30, 2024]  PA Environment Digest

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