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Brooke solid waste board to host electronics collection

BEECH BOTTOM — As the Brooke County Solid Waste Authority prepares to accept assorted electronics for recycling, Brooke County Commissioners were asked about improving access to the county’s recycling program.

Heidi Kirchner, the authority’s office manager, has announced an electronics collection will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the board’s recycling center on Mac Barnes Drive. The event has been supported by a $15,240 grant from the West Virginia Division of Environmental Protection’s Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan program, one of 12 awarded to recycling programs in the state.

Individuals bringing items to the collection must show proof of their residency in Brooke County.

The event isn’t open to businesses or groups.

Items that will be accepted include A/C adapters, audiovisual equipment such as DVD players, LCD and LED televisions and stereo equipment; various kinds of batteries, calculators, cameras, cell phones, laptop computers, printers, ink toners, computer components such as mainframes, hard drives, LCD monitors, keyboards and mice; scanners and other copy machines, typewriters, wires, cables and cords; dehumidifiers, dryers, washers, refrigerators, microwave ovens, vacuum cleaners, fax machines, medical devices and security equipment.

Items that won’t be accepted include stoves, dishwashers, hot water tanks, any type of light bulb or ballasts, thermometers, thermostats, VHS, cassette or data tapes, electric lamps, oxygen or pressurized tanks, fuel containers, syringes or medical waste, medications, gasoline or diesel components, tires, fire extinguishers and CRT (tube-type) devices. There will be a ten item limit per vehicle, though keyboards, mice and mobile phones don’t count toward it.

In recent months the board stopped accepting electronic items at the center on a daily basis, citing concerns about contamination by those left outside the center’s regular hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Kirchner said the state DEP has warned material from such devices could seep into the ground and reach the Hammond Public Service District’s water treatment system nearby or work its way into the Ohio River not far away.

County Commissioner A.J. Thomas said the county has received modest fines for them but there’s greater concern the situation could hurt the board’s chances of receiving future grants.

The state DEP has been the primary source of funding for the recycling center’s daily operations and special events such as Saturday’s collection.

Grants from it have been used to maintain and haul bins for public deposit of recyclable paper, cardboard and aluminum and steel cans.

But in recent months bins at central locations in Follansbee, Wellsburg and Bethany have been relocated to the recycling center at the south end of the county. Thomas said illegal dumping of nonrecyclable material in the bins prompted the move.

County Commissioner Stacey Wise added staff at the center were forced to sort through a lot of nonrecyclable trash to prepare the bins’ contents for the recycling companies with whom the board deals.

Wise added the cost of hauling the material also was a factor.

The commissioners noted they have paved Mac Barnes Drive to improve access to the center.

The solid waste board also has secured a camera to monitor afterhours activity and deter illegal dumping there. But the center’s location and limited hours have spurred complaints from some supporters of recycling.

The commissioners said they hope the bins can be returned to their previous locations though they don’t see it happening in the near future.

They were asked whether they have considered merging its operations with a neighboring county, as was done in Jefferson and Belmont counties in Ohio; or establishing limited weekend hours in which residents could bring their recyclables.

Wise said merging with another county doesn’t seem a viable option as Kirchner and the board are still contending with financial issues attributed to past staff. She and Thomas said special weekend hours is something they could consider.

Wise said there are plans for the commission and solid waste board to work more closely.

She said they are exploring the possibility of a SWA staff member investigating complaints of open dumps, illegal salvage yards and dilapidated structures and receiving training required to write citations for violations.

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

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