GEAUGA-TRUMBULL SOLID WASTE Official: Facility won't take dangerous items

Recycled materials are being used in the two buildings' construction.
WARREN -- Any misconceptions people might have about dangers of the $1.65 million household hazardous waste facility Trumbull and Geauga counties are building off U.S. Route 422 are quickly squelched by the man in charge.
"It's only for materials that you have in your house -- paints, pesticides, oils, antifreeze and cleaners," explained Bob Villers, Geauga-Trumbull Solid Waste Management District director.
"It's not commercial. It's not industrial. It's not buried on-site. It's not brought in by rail," he said. Also, there will be no explosives, ammunition or medical waste accepted -- no microwaves or televisions (although computers and monitors will be recycled).
"It's only for residents of Geauga and Trumbull counties," he said.
It will be only the second such household hazardous waste processing facility in Ohio, the other being in Summit County.
"It's a collection point. The material passes through, the same day it's gone," Villers said. "It's restricted from the waste stream. You're not supposed to put it out with your trash."
The two new buildings are under construction on Enterprise Drive and are planned to open this spring.
The 5,300-square-foot office building for district staff and the 4,200-square-foot collection building, on 6.5 acres, were designed by Strollo Architects, Youngstown. VendRick Construction, Brookfield, is the general contractor. Slated to be finished possibly in March, its first full day of operation will be June 7, Villers said.
The solid waste district's staff of six -- three paid by the district and three by an Ohio Department of Natural Resources grant -- will move from current quarters above the Trumbull County Board of Elections building on Youngstown Road, which are not handicapped-accessible.
"This is more of a central location between the two counties. We have Route 422 right here, right into Geauga County," Villers said.
The district has a $190,000 contract this year with Clean Harbors, a Massachusetts company with offices in Cleveland, to handle and haul out the materials the same day they arrive, for disposal and recycling.
"Put it in your car and bring it here," Villers said. People will remain in their vehicles while Clean Harbors workers in protective suits greet them out front and unload, sort, pack and ship the materials from loading docks out the back. Five of its people will work at the facility.
Hours initially will be 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays and 1 to 4 p.m. Thursdays in June, July and August. More hours will come next year, he said.
"We're going to run for three months to get an idea of a cost," Villers said.
The district has previously done one-day collections of household hazardous materials in both counties, drawing 900 to 1,000 vehicles each time.
Money for the new buildings comes from the "generation fee" the district levies on the garbage hauling and collecting in the two counties, generating about $1.2 million a year. No general fund money from either county is used.
The district has existed since 1988, and the buildings have been planned for eight years. Villers was hired as director in 1994; previously, he chaired its advisory committee and ran Trumbull County's litter prevention program. He also had been a county planning commission staffer.
The new buildings have several attributes that reflect the district's recycling philosophy. "Wheat board," paneling made of wheat, is used to finish the office walls; carpet will be spun from thread made of 2-liter plastic pop bottles; the floor will be made of tire material; trees on site were left as undisturbed as possible to preserve a natural setting.
"We're trying to incorporate what we're promoting as much as possible," Villers said.
Inside the office building is a large resource room for educational programs and seminars for children, local governments and law enforcement. A small conference room will serve the six district board members -- the three commissioners from each county; and also a 15-member policy committee. There's a reception area and staff offices, records room and a small kitchen.
At the front of the collection building, tires donated by Denman Rubber are stacked to give protection from vehicles to the concrete columns.
Chemists on site will check materials; some will be placed inside 55-gallon drums before heading to the loading dock.
This is all done inside a restricted area because of the chemicals, but an observation room has been built for the public to view the operation behind windows.

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