Brooke waste board in need of members

FOLLANSBEE — While recovering from financial difficulties, the Brooke County Solid Waste Authority is seeking three members.

The board’s August meeting was canceled because it lacked a quorum following the recent deaths of Bob DiCiccio and Santo Santoro.

The Brooke County Commission is accepting letters of interest in their seats and another that has been vacant for several months. The letters may be submitted to the office of County Clerk Sylvia Benzo at the Brooke County Courthouse.

The three selected will join Art Sullivan and Stephen Paulls, who serve as chairman and vice chairman, respectively, on the five-member board.

Heidi Kirchner, the board’s office manager, said she will miss the contributions of DiCiccio and Santoro but is forging ahead, with others, to strengthen the county’s recycling program.

Earlier this year the board pulled bins for recyclable paper, cardboard and tin and aluminum cans from several public sites and moved them to the board’s recycling center on Mac Barnes Drive.

Located off state Route 2 just south of Beech Bottom, the road also is occupied by the county’s animal shelter.

For the present time the board has ceased collection of plastics and the collection of used tires has been halted statewide by the state Department of Environmental Protection in an unrelated matter.

The center continues to accept discarded televisions and computers, a practice begun several years ago when the state banned various electronic devices from landfills.

The ban was lifted in 2016, but the board has continued to convey TVs and computers to a recycling firm specializing in them.

But it must pay the recycler for TVs and computer devices with cracked screens, which can’t be recycled; and old models with large backs, especially TVs with wooden and other housings that must be removed.

Kirchner said those models aren’t taken to the county landfill because the board isn’t eligible for the free dumping day offered by the landfill to residents.

She said she has applied for a $20,000 Covered Electronic Devices grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection to hold a fall collection of such devices.

She expects to learn whether the grant has been approved in early October.

If approved, it will be a shot in the arm for the board, which earlier this year received an $11,650 emergency grant from the state Solid Waste Management Board and a $25,383 loan from the county commission to help it out of financial straits.

Kirchner said the recycling program’s future is looking brighter, with repairs made to an aging truck used to transport the recyclables, forklift used at the recycling center and the bins themselves.

She acknowledged the efforts of staff members Carl DiGiacinto, who lent his own equipment for the repairs; and Trevor Richman in restoring the equipment while adding the truck still requires more repairs.

Kirchner has secured a $7,294 SWMB grant for brake repairs for the vehicle and heating and electricity for the center as well as to offset worker compensation coverage for the board’s staff of four.

She added the board has been making monthly payments on the commission’s loan.

Kirchner said the public can help the board by continuing to participate in the recycling program in a positive way.

She said some people leave items that aren’t recyclable, from mattresses to corded appliances, in the bins.

When a recycling company receives a bin with such materials in it, “They won’t accept it because it views it as contaminated,” Kirchner said.

She said anyone with questions about materials accepted by the center may call (304) 527-3948 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Kirchner added she’s applied for a grant to install surveillance cameras at the bins to capture images of anyone illegally dumping there.

“The recycling center is not a junkyard,” she said.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com.)

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