Woodstock officials are considering providing a place where residents can dispose of household chemicals, such as paint and pesticides.
Senior City Planner Katie O’Connor gave a presentation on the potential establishment of a household hazardous waste drop center that could be set up in Woodstock during a recent city council meeting.
O’Connor began her presentation with an update on the city’s community-driven sustainability plan, which was adopted by the council in April. After the plan was approved, a committee was formed to fully implement the plan, which held its first meeting on July 9.
As the city pushes to try and achieve a platinum level for green community certification, O’Connor listed off some of the projects she believed could be relatively easily accomplished, including the adoption of a government landscaping policy and the creation of a sustainability project to engage either local youth or businesses. Among these projects was the creation of a household hazardous waste drop center, giving city residents a place they could drop off household waste, such as paints, oils and pesticides, materials unable to be disposed of through more typical methods.
“These toxic substances need to be saved from being poured down the drain or spilled on the ground so they don’t pollute the waterways and affect our sanitation systems and our groundwater,” O’Connor said. “Wouldn’t it be nice if this was a service we could provide to our citizens? We could tell them they can bring us all of their nasty chemicals and we will dispose of them properly and responsibly.”
Should the city pursue the development of such a facility, O’Connor said it would be open only to the residents of Woodstock at the beginning, but as it developed, it could possibly be opened up to more citizens in the area, while there are a handful of locations on city-owned property where it could be located, so long as modifications like fencing and gates were made to accommodate it. As financing would be a key factor in the facility’s creation, O’Connor suggested some money the city already collects could be diverted to pay for the project, and there are also grants Woodstock could apply for that would cover some of the costs.
“I think it’s an awesome idea,” Councilman Rob Usher said. “A few years ago, I had so much partially-used cans of paint that I had to systematically pour out and dry out, feed it cat litter and all that before it was something you could do with it. This is awesome. If we could do this and find a location for it, I think this is going to be a fantastic thing.”
Councilman Warren Johnson added, “I like it a lot. I’ve got about two and a half gallons of oil and gasoline mixture that I’ll be happy to put in the front of the line. However, I do want very serious research before we go forward.”
If the city would be able to do this and not have to worry about it becoming a regulatory nightmare to deal with, Johnson said he felt it was a phenomenal idea. O’Connor said the committee has already begun some research into the matter, but more thorough and detailed research would be conducted moving forward, which she said would present at a future council meeting.