Originally Published: August 25, 2011 9:50 p.m.
PRESCOTT - Three years have gone by since the City of Prescott last conducted a hazardous waste collection day, and officials guess that residents have accumulated a large store of harmful household materials in the interim.
So much so that the City of Prescott is planning to spend as much as $60,000 to allow its garbage-collection customers to dump the materials for free.
The event will take place from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 25, at the Prescott Transfer Station, 2800 Sundog Ranch Road.
The Prescott City Council approved the expenditure on Tuesday, after hearing from Field Operations Director Chad McDowell about the need for the free service.
"We've had a lot of calls," McDowell told the council, noting that many residents are looking for a way to keep the materials out of the landfills. "We get calls daily."
Since the last hazardous household waste collection day in 2008, McDowell said the economic downturn caused the city to suspend the service. "The last couple of years, because of finances, we've dropped it," he said.
McDowell expects that many local residents have been holding onto hazardous materials such as paint, Freon, cleaners, motor oil, batteries, fertilizers, and pesticides since that time.
When the city last offered a hazardous household waste collection day in 2008, McDowell said the service cost area governments about $76,000. Of the total, the city paid $30,000, and an Arizona Department of Environmental Quality grant covered another $30,000. Other area governments pitched in: $7,000 from Yavapai County, $6,700 from Prescott Valley, and $2,500 from Dewey-Humboldt.
Local resident Sandy Griffis asked the council why Prescott was not cooperating with other area governments for this year's event.
McDowell pointed out that Prescott ended up providing the bulk of the money and labor for the last event. Therefore, this year's collection day will be for Prescott trash-collection customers only, he said, and workers will be checking for identification at the site.
The council also fielded questions about why the event is taking place on a Sunday morning, when many area residents attend church.
McDowell said the disposal days in 2006 and 2008 also occurred on Sundays, and residents were able to work around any scheduling conflicts.
He noted that the disposal service goes on for several hours, and if residents arrive early, they should still be able to get to a church service. Even so, the questions led to an extension of the disposal time by an hour - from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., rather than the original 8 a.m.-to-noon timeframe.
At previous hazardous household waste collection events, McDowell said paint has made up the bulk of the collected materials. This year, he said, the city will process the paint in-house and will work to recycle it. For instance, he said some of the paint likely would go to the police department for painting over graffiti, and some of the white paint could go for repainting the "P" on Badger Mountain.
The city will contract with PSC Environmental Services for the collection and disposal services. The money for the service will come from the city's trash-hauling revenue.