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By: Brendan McDonough
Reporter for North Tonawanda
The North Tonawanda Department of Public Works took an extra step to help protect the environment this past Saturday as they held a special waste drop off day for residents.
The special event offered a chance for people to drop off paint cans or hazardous chemicals for free.
The City holds the event three times every year to allow residents across North Tonawadna to dispose of hazardous chemicals and other items they might not otherwise know how to get rid of or where to get rid of it at.
“The majority of what people bring are paints, old fuels, automotive fluids, cleaners, various household chemicals, thermometers, and other mercury-based items,” said Dawn Timm, Niagara County Environmental Coordinator.
Once collected the items are then sorted and distributed to various disposal places across Niagara County. Some of it gets also gets recycled; helping to protect the environment and the people who live here.
“You find a lot of desperate people that cannot get rid of liquids,” said Timm. “Putting it into a landfill is illegal because you are not supposed to have them transported on a truck. Some people even get desperate and will dump it down a drain, sewer, or leave it in their garage. So, no matter what, it is an environmental issue and a public health safety issue that we are trying to resolve. If a garage or house were to ever catch fire, a lot of accelerants would be in there and that is what we are trying to get rid of today.”
Over the past four years more than 110,000 household chemicals have been disposed of as a result of these events.
“The people seem to really appreciate it because they are getting to dispose of these chemicals and some electronics the proper way,” said Mayor Art Pappas. “The people are saying what do we do with this, so it really helps dispose of this stuff properly and everyone is leaving with a smile.”
The DEC covers 50% of reimbursable expenses for event. A third of the $100,000 budget is covered by the state and the rest comes from Niagara County.
The next drop off with will held next year around the time of Earth Day.