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Counties seek new plans for waste control

Lawrence and Scioto counties will take time to find some new direction with its joint solid waste management district.

Tuesday, September 19, 2000

Lawrence and Scioto counties will take time to find some new direction with its joint solid waste management district.

"We have a couple of options, and we need to redefine what our duties are," Scioto County Commission president Opal Spears said. "It’s time we reassess where we’ve been and where we’re going to."

The waste management district is jointly funded by the counties to conduct recycling, industrial waste and litter control reviews as well as plan for future collection improvements and reductions in waste flow to landfills.

The counties should be getting more out of their district, for example, which is why officials are being cautious about who they hire to replace David Sheets, Mrs. Spears said.

Sheets retired from the coordinator’s position earlier this year.

Mrs. Spears met with Lawrence County officials for about an hour last week to discuss plans the counties can apply to the solid waste program, Lawrence County commissioners George Patterson said.

The counties are working on how to cooperate in order to get the program up and running that both need, Patterson said.

County commission president Bruce Trent has been researching options available to the solid waste coordinator’s office.

He said there are a few choices for a two-county system in Ohio.

For example, many grants are available for a variety of programs, he said.

Both counties will continue discussions, he added.

Mrs. Spears said state law requires the coordinator’s office perform certain tasks, which must be considered.

"When we operated on minimum standards, we met all the requirements for paperwork and for specific solid waste programs, but I think both counties would actually like to do more," she said.

Although the counties both fund the district coordinator’s salary, there is little left to sponsor programs, Mrs. Spears said.

"We would like to find somebody who has the capability of going after grants," she said.

There might be educational grants that tie in with illegal dump site cleanup, she added.

Educating the public about the need for trash pickup and proper disposal of waste is the key, Mrs. Spears said.

In addition to filing necessary paperwork with the Ohio EPA, conducting surveys of commercial trash flow, working with industries on waste audits and keeping an eye on recycling, a coordinator needs to hold frequent presentations and do public newsletters, she said.

"It’s just the basic steps to lessen the effect of all the waste we have."

Another key component of the solid waste district will be making legislators aware of the basic problem in southern Ohio – uniform trash pickup, Mrs. Spears said.

"Until you come up with a program have uniform trash pickup throughout the state, I don’t think you’re really going to solve the problem," she said.

In the city, trash pickup is more palatable than in counties where they haven’t paid for such services before, she added.

Mrs. Spears said hopes to reach some of that goal through education, especially among the young generation.