County residents urged not to waste chance to get rid of hazardous items

Chris Berendt Staff Writer

September 9, 2013

For years, the City of Clinton has offered a chance during its biannual cleanup weeks for residents to dispose of bulky items, such as furniture, appliances and tires. That opportunity has not extended to hazardous materials — until now.

The N.C. Department of Agriculture has a program by which anyone can bring pesticides in and the disposal is paid for by the state department. The city is bringing that effort to residents locally, as well as building on it at its own cost.

“We are piggy-backing on that effort,” said Clinton Public Works director Jeff Vreugdenhil. “We are working in conjunction with our local Ag Extension Office and anyone countywide may come and bring in pesticides free of charge to be disposed of. Along with that, anyone from the county can bring in household hazardous waste.”

While pesticide disposal will be paid for by the state for those participating locally, any household hazardous waste that is disposed of will be done at the city’s cost.

“We’ve worked very closely with people in some other counties and cities that have done this,” said Vreugdenhil, who noted the cost would be dependent on participation. “This is one of the things our citizens have asked for for years. We’d like to give it a try and I think it will be very successful. We’ll be holding this at the City Market property on a Saturday for four hours.”

The Hazardous Materials Collection Day will be held Saturday, Oct. 19, at the City Market on Lisbon Street. The date was announced at a recent City Council meeting and city leaders lauded Public Works officials for building on the cleanup efforts.

“That’s going to be a big service for a lot of folks,” Councilman Steve Stefanovich said.

The City Council has designated Oct. 14-18 as Fall Clean Up Week and, as it does two weeks a year, suspended regular practices to pick up those items not normally collected by the city. The city has encouraged residents to use the cleanup weeks — the other is in the spring — as a way to dispose of items that are not usually allowed to be placed curbside, including chairs, televisions, couches, washers and dryers, refrigerators, mattresses and box springs, air conditioners, dishwashers and the like.

However, items that cannot be processed at the Sampson County Landfill or are hazardous to city staff will not be accepted, even during those week. That includes oil-based paints, batteries, motor oils and insecticides, auto parts, gasoline and other substances that present sticky and sometimes unsafe situations for those collecting and processing them.

Next month, though, the city’s Public Works Department will wrap up Fall Clean Up Week by giving residents a long-desired chance to dispose of that household hazardous waste. The Hazardous Materials Collection Day will be extended countywide and beyond.

“It can be anything from a Clorox bottle to unknown materials, paints, paint thinners,” said Vreugdenhil.

Public Works manager Tony Steffen expounded on that, saying other hazardous household waste could include cleaning products, batteries and other hazardous waste.

“I’ve heard of some crazy things they’ve come up with,” said Steffen. “Hopefully we won’t have anything like that, but mostly you are going to run into old pesticide products.”

Steffen has worked with local Agriculture Extension agent Della King in putting together the state collection effort.

“The same contractor will hand both the household hazardous waste and the (agriculture) products,” Steffen said. “By partnering with them, we have to allow anybody within the state to be able to come … so someone in the county or even outside our county can drop off pesticide products. On the city’s part, we will be doing the household hazardous waste.”

The city has frequently reminded residents not to include household hazardous waste in its residential garbage, curbside single-stream recycling or its items placed for pick-up during cleanup weeks. While still not accepting such items at curbs, the city will be offering to dispose of them at no cost to residents. Those items must be brought to the City Market.

“It will be run by a group of experts who will politely ask people to remain in their cars and pop the trunks so they may remove the materials to keep the people same and things moving through,” Vreugdenhil said of the Oct. 19 effort.

Steffen said the city will also introduce its new light bulb recycling program on that day, an initiative he said Vreugdenhil and office assistant Stacey Ray have worked diligently to implement.

“They’ve been working on getting that program up and running, and we have some grant monies to help us with that and we’ll be introducing that also,” said Steffen. “We thought it would be a good idea to stem it along with our Fall Clean Up Week. We’re very excited about it.”

For more information on the Hazardous Materials Collection Day, contact the City of Clinton Public Works Department at 910-299-4905.

Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at