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SWA shares information to help trash problem

KINGWOOD — During a Tuesday evening meeting of the Preston County Solid Waste Authority (SWA), SWA President Don Smith, shared information he received while attending a recent Solid Waste Education Conference.

Smith said a program in Wheeling called the House of Hagar is helping with the city’s trash problem. He said the local homeless population has started cleaning up the trash in town.

“They are doing something like a business,” Smith said. “They will come and clean out garages or buildings for people. This is helpful because instead of all of the stuff they clean out going to the dump, they will repurpose it. A couch, or other furniture they collect will be given to another homeless person who was moving into an apartment and needs it.”

He said according to local police officers, the homeless community is also cleaning up illegal dumps found within the city limits.

Smith said another topic discussed during the event was the dilapidated property program. He said there is grant money available for towns and cites if they have a dilapidated building ordinance in place, and a list of structures that needs to be demolished.

“One thing they said was that you have a better chance of getting a grant approved if you have “X” number of buildings ready to go,” he said.

Smith said also discussed was adopting a stream. He said the idea is similar to the adopt-a-highway program. He said the section of stream to be cleaned up has to be approved to make sure it isn’t dangerous.

“Kids ages 12 to 18 can do the clean up but they must have an adult in charge. Right now there isn’t any money in the program,” but five streams have been cleaned in an effort to see how it will work,” Smith said.

He said the Trash Trap cage that can be mounted in a stream is open on both ends to allow turtles and fish safe passage. However, Smith said it catches litter going down stream. He said the trap costs about $3,500 and is concreted in the stream and must be hand cleaned.

Smith said another program that can be found at can provide free information about switching to a solar powered home. Smith said anyone interested in switching to solar can go to the website and put in their physical address.

“The program lets you know if switching to solar power is economical or not. The information is free and you can work out payments with the company if you decide to switch. There has been several school systems that have switched, and there is a local Solar Holler located in Morgantown,” he said.

The next meeting of the Preston County Solid Waste Authority will be 7 p.m. Dec. 6.