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Ecology Action Center explores permanent household hazardous waste collection site

A bin of household hazardous waste from a 2014 McLean County collection event
Michael Brown
Ecology Action Center
A bin of household hazardous waste from a 2014 McLean County collection event.

Normal's Ecology Action Center (EAC) plans to study whether McLean County would use and support a permanent household hazardous waste site.

The state of Illinois has funded household hazardous waste collection events in Bloomington-Normal about every other year, but center Michael Brown said that's not enough.

“We have historically even stepped up in the absence of state funding to put on locally funded household hazardous waste events,” Brown said. “As of late even, we are trying to have annual collection events. That still does not sufficiently meet the needs of the community.”

There are five permanent household hazardous waste sites in Illinois. None are in central Illinois. One is near St. Louis. The rest are in the Chicago area and northern Illinois.

McLean County's 20-year master plan adopted in 2018 calls for the county to explore a permanent site here.

The Ecology Action Center plans to launch a feasibility study that has a lot of questions to answer.

“What’s the range from which we would draw residents to utilize this, therefore what is the capacity needs of the facility from that range of population it will service,” said Brown, adding he thinks a permanent site would attract waste from across central Illinois.

Cost is another big concern. Local governments would have to cover capital and operations expenses. EAC is funded largely through Bloomington, Normal and McLean County governments.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) would transport the materials and handle permanent disposal if such a site is approved, said Brown, adding the state agency has indicated it is open to new site requests.

Brown said greater access to disposal sites would likely prompt more people to use them, and that would protect the water supply.

EAC has put out a request for proposals for companies to conduct the study. Brown hopes the study can begin early next year.

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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