BARRE TOWN — The Central Vermont Solid Waste Management District is working on building a household hazardous waste collection facility with the goal of having the facility open in 2022.
At its regular meeting Tuesday, the Barre Town Select Board heard from Cathleen Gent, the district’s general manager, and Fred Thumm, the town’s representative on the district’s board. Gent told the board said she wanted to bring the town up to speed on what the district is doing.
The district typically has held household hazardous waste collection days at the town’s public works yard. But those days appear to be coming to an end.
The district serves Barre City, Barre Town, Berlin, Bradford, Calais, Chelsea, Duxbury, East Montpelier, Fairlee, Hardwick, Middlesex, Montpelier, Orange, Plainfield, Tunbridge, Walden, Washington, Williamstown and Woodbury.
Gent said the cost of the facility is estimated at $1.2 million. Earlier this month, the district announced it had been awarded a $500,000 grant from the state Agency of Natural Resources for the facility. She told the board the district will use $594,400 from its reserve funds for the facility and the remainder will be raised either through grants or other sources, but the district will not be asking its members for the remaining funds.
She said having a facility for household hazardous waste has been a goal of the district’s for a while
“Residents regularly ask for us to add a permanent HHW facility to our list of services,” she said.
Gent told the board the district is looking to build the facility in Barre, Montpelier, Berlin or East Montpelier. While the novel coronavirus pandemic has slowed things a bit, she said the district is optimistic it can have the facility open by spring 2022. She said the district has formed a facilities committee and Thumm and Select Board member Jack Mitchell, who also serves as the town’s alternate representative on the district’s board, are on that committee.
Thumm said, “What we hear from our members and what people say as far as recycling and stuff like that is that they really want someplace they can constantly come. Because you’re digging through the house, you find something, it’s like, ‘Oh, I don’t want this in my house anymore.’ And you can go somewhere to get rid of it and you don’t have to wait three weeks, four weeks for it to happen.”
He said having a household hazardous waste facility would be an asset to the community.
The next household hazardous waste collection day is scheduled for Aug. 1. Gent said those at the district weren’t sure if that day was going to happen due to the pandemic. She said the company the district uses to haul away the waste wasn’t sure if it could take part in such events. But she said it’s been decided that event can go forward.
“Unless something else comes up with COVID-19, we’re all set,” she said.
The district had shut down its Additional Recyclables Collection Center in the old Times Argus building because of the virus. But it opened that center back up Wednesday, with some restrictions on what can be dropped off. For now, the center is only accepting batteries except those with lead acid, electronic waste such as computers or televisions, household paints and stains, fluorescent light bulbs and tubes. There is no fee for dropping off these items. The center will also take food scraps, but a donation is requested for those.
Those using the center are asked to wear a mask and to sort and unload their own items. Staff will not help unload or sort. Residents will be asked to wait in their vehicles until staff at the center are ready for their items.