By John Anderson
Although May 3rd seems like a long time ago, it took some time to get the numbers together on Auburn’s latest Household Hazardous Waste Day. Auburn tries to do one of these collection days every two years. When first conceived, they were rarely held, and cars were back up onto Oxford Street North outside the host site, Horgan Arena. On May 3rd, there were many busy moments, but the flow was steady rather than overwhelming.
Many professionals as well as numerous volunteers were on hand to make the event run smoothly. Public Health Director Darlene Coyle extended a huge thanks to the volunteers, “I would love to make sure that all the volunteers are thanked, because they were invaluable!”
From Darlene Coyle’s article in The Auburn Account, “Members of the Auburn Community Emergency Response Team were willing participants, assisting in directing traffic through the parking to drop off locations for waste. The Auburn Masons collected electronics and appliances for a small fee to raise money for their charity and filled over two box trucks full of every imaginable computer, printer, television, lawn mower and kitchen appliance you can think of.”
The day had several sponsors who offered services to Auburn residents at no cost. Allied Waste Republic Services provided two roll off containers for trash and cardboard recycling. Osterman Gas collected propane gas tanks and cylinders of all sizes. Central Mass Mosquito Control Project collected used tires including disposal of about 30 tires from the Auburn DPW. Interstate Battery accepted all types of batteries, including regular, rechargeable, cell phone and automotive. Wheelabrator Technologies Inc. accepted all of the mercury containing items which included fluorescent bulbs, compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL’s), button cell batteries, thermometers, and thermostats.
The Town received a generous donation of $5,000 from the Auburn Water District which reduced the town’s cost for this event. The hazards that were collected were disposed of in a responsible, safe and legal manner thus preventing contamination to the groundwater and aquifers that supply us with drinking water.
The Auburn Board of Health contracted Clean Harbors as the household hazardous waste hauler. In total, the amount of hazardous waste that was removed from the town was 5.16 tons of liquid waste including paints, solvents, aerosols, motor oils, cleaning agents and liquid pesticides along with 12 cubic yards of solid waste including paint cans, adhesives, resins, and solidified pesticide chemicals. The cost to Auburn was about $12,500, a great environmental investment for the community and well below the budget authorized by Town Meeting.