The 2023 Monongalia County Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day proved to be another record-breaking event with 539 vehicles going through the line.
“It was an extraordinary event in which we collected more than 13 tons of material,” said Morgantown Utility Board Director of Communications Chris Dale. “This means that we safely unloaded a vehicle about every 20 seconds.”
Outside of 45 pounds of waste collected, 24% was recycled, energy recovery accounted for 58%, 13% was treated and 4% incinerated.
“This event is critical because it not only protects our raw water resources but other elements of our environment. Because of the event, 13 tons of material will not pollute our environment or pose a threat to first responders in the event of a house fire,” Dale said.
Material collected includes 7,284 pounds of paint; 2,843 pounds of pesticide; 2,231 pounds of oil; 1,846 pounds of flammable liquids; and 1,278 pounds of batteries — along with tons of other items.
“We collect a lot of material that people may not even consider. For example, we received 15 pounds of mercury and more than 1,000 pounds of aerosols,” Dale said.
Another item collected that has a tremendous impact on the health of the community is firefighting foam. This substance is a primary source of PFAS pollution, a compound that may cause risks to health and are called “forever chemicals” because of the extreme length of time it takes for the substances to breakdown.
“For the past few years, we’ve been working with the Morgantown Fire Department to safely dispose of the foam. It demonstrates the importance of HHWC Day. If you’re looking for an example of people and agencies coming together for a common cause, look no further than Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day,” Dale said.
Dale added that the degree of community involvement can be seen in the sponsors that come together to make the event possible. This includes Morgantown Utility Board, the City of Morgantown, the Monongalia County Commission, Republic Services, Monongalia County Solid Waste Authority and the City of Westover.
“Of course, special thanks to our staff who volunteered to spend their Saturday lending a hand and MUB Senior Engineer Ken Hacker who plays a critical role in organizing and managing the event,” Dale said.
The next HHWC Day will be in August 2024. Information on the event can be found at mub.org/hhwc.