The answer would be a big yes.
For those of us who are responsible, or would like to be responsible, a hazardous waste site should be available. If a site is not available waste products could end up in our local city sewer waste systems and treatment plants.
Things like paint, used motor oil, acid, just about anything, could show up in a given household at one time or another and disposing of them safely rather than exposing local ecology, people and children is a good idea.
Older homes and farms can harbor chemicals in old buildings and garages, chemicals that have been banned from use many years ago could be brought to a special hazardous waste site, not dumped into the soil or placed in a trash bin to be dumped at the landfill.
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As our population grows, the demand for hazardous waste disposal will also grow.
This waste site would have to be a no-charge or very low-charge for disposal of household chemicals.
A large cost of disposal may not work well as it would be easier and much cheaper to dispose of in a manner not kind to our ecology and could end up in our water or food chain. Just take a drive in some of Benton County's remote areas and look at the illegal dumping of garbage and hazardous waste.
If you really think about it, chemical pollution of our water, air and soil is everybody's problem. This pollution could even be linked to why so many cancers and new diseases have evolved in recent years.
Having a mobile disposal program is better than nothing, but having a permanent site is much better. Once someone decides to clean out the waste, they don't want it sitting around for a period of time waiting for the mobile disposal day.
-- MAX L. HATFIELD, Kennewick
I think it is very important to dispose of household hazardous wastes properly and such a facility needs to be available to the general public. However I do not think it should be a part of government but should be a commercial firm that perhaps could also provide for some commercial hazardous waste disposal. Perhaps it could be set up by someone with a layoff from Hanford and with some expertise. To operate most efficiently, I don't think it needs to be open for receipt of wastes on a daily basis, but should provide for waste disposal perhaps quarterly or monthly and maybe open by appointment for those who need some special consideration.
Many local governments don't seem to be able to operate efficiently as evidenced by many cities going bankrupt. I have some concerns about adding more taxes for people as Benton County seems to me to have an inordinately high property tax as compared to other places I have lived that are just as nice a community.
-- MARY ELY, Richland
One not enough
To the question "Does Benton County need a household hazardous waste disposal facility?" my reply is "Absolutely." I would suggest we create more than one in Benton County and a few in Franklin County, also.
With the physical size of each of the counties, it would be shortsighted to only have one. Where would you put it if you built only one in Benton County? Kennewick, where most of the population lives, or in Prosser where it could service the farms? How about three or four in each county? In Benton County, there could be one in the Richland "Y" area, one in the east part of the county near the fairgrounds (at the Kennewick City shops), plus one in Prosser.
In Franklin County, there should be one in the far east end of Pasco to service the farms and industrial areas (perhaps at Basin Disposal), one in the Road 68 area (adjacent to the fire station at Argent/Road 68?), and one in the north county near Connell.
Let's face it, people are basically lazy. If they have to drive a long distance to dispose of oils, paint products, or other hazardous waste, they likely will put it in their trash or dump it where it shouldn't be dumped.
If we really want people to use a hazardous waste disposal facility we have to make it easy enough and convenient enough for them so they won't dump their waste illegally.
-- MIKE LAUMAN, Pasco
People don't know
The short answer is a definite YES. The longer answer is that most people probably don't have a clue as to what, exactly, is a "hazardous" waste. I doubt that most people know that paint is hazardous, for example. If you don't think so, just try ordering over the internet and you will get a rude awakening about how it can be shipped. Other common household wastes that are considered hazardous, or contain hazardous waste, are:
w used motor oil
w fluorescent (including compact) light bulbs
w prescription drugs
w batteries (lead-acid, ni-cad, lithium)
These wastes will go into the landfill if there is no facility available to accept them.
-- TOM SEIM, Richland