Galveston County health District Logo
Galveston County Health District - Providing Credible Service since 1971

 

1207 Oak Street La Marque, Texas 77568 - Phone - 409-938-7221

Texas flag in the wind
 
red diamond Homered diamond Community Health red diamond Environmental Health red diamond 4C's Clinics red diamond EMS (GAAA) red diamond
Health News
Welcome
Boards of Health
Strategic Health Plan
Careers
Volunteers
Birth & Death Records
Epidemiology
Health Preparedness
Food Service Inspection
 
Mailing address:
PO Box 939
La Marque, TX  77568
Public Health
Information Services
Phone: 409-938-2211
Fax:
409-938-2243

Household Waste Facility
News Article
Houston Chronicle
By THAYER EVANS
Chronicle Correspondent
May 17, 2007
 
Grant sought for collection facility. Residents would be able to dispose of household hazardous waste

Galveston County: Galveston County remains in the running for a $1.6 million grant from the state's General Land Office that would be used to build a permanent household chemical collection facility for residents to dispose of items like paint, pesticides and oil, a county official said.

The county made the initial cut for the General Land Office's Coastal Impact Assistance Program, but doesn't know when a decision on its application will be made, said Ron Schultz, director of the Galveston County Health District's office of environmental health programs.

"Right now, we really don't have a realistic timeline on it," Schultz said. "We're in that waiting game right now with the General Land Office."

In the meantime, the county is looking for a two-acre site in northern Galveston County or southern Harris County for the potential facility, he said.

An informal committee of leaders in the county has been working on the possibility of a chemical collection facility for six months.

If the county receives the $1.6 million grant, that would cover the construction of the center as well as some of its startup costs.

The county estimates that it would cost $150,000 annually to operate such a facility, Schultz said. That would allow it to be open one day or evening a week, he said.

"The thought here being is we'd get as many cities to participate as possible to share that cost," he said.

Other sources considered

Should the county not receive the $1.6 million grant from the General Land Office, it would pursue a solid waste grant from the Houston-Galveston Area Council next year to build the facility.

The county would also probably reapply for grant funding from the General Land Office, Schultz said. 

He said he has received "favorable" reaction about the possible facility following presentations to Galveston County Commissioners Court, Dickinson City Council and most recently to the Galveston County Mayors and Council Members Association in Tiki Island.

 "I'm keeping my fingers crossed, because this is definitely a facility that Galveston County needs," he said.

 Dickinson Mayor Julie Masters said she favors the idea of cities sharing the facility's operational costs and its users paying a nominal fee.

 As director of Keep Dickinson Beautiful, she said she receives at least one weekly call from residents asking how to dispose of household hazardous waste.

 "Basically, I have to tell them that they have to leave it in their garage," Masters said. "We really need a way to dispose of it, especially with the threat of flooding and hurricane. This stuff could end up floating in the bayous and Galveston Bay. That'd be awful." 

During Schultz's May 9 presentation to the Galveston County Mayors and Council Members Association, he estimated that 4 percent of the county's 125,465 households would use the facility.

 Friendswood City Councilwoman Laura Ewing said she supports the proposal to build the center.

"I love it," Ewing said. "I'm ready for them to start this tomorrow." 

Friendswood effort failed

An effort in Friendswood that would have allowed the city to receive 100 vouchers for its residents to use the Pearland Recycling Center to dispose of household hazardous waste failed earlier this month.

 Friendswood has been told by Pearland that starting this summer, only Pearland residents will be able to use its recycling center to dispose of household hazardous waste, Friendswood city spokesman Nick Haby said.

 Under the once-proposed agreement with Pearland, Friendswood would have paid $3,450 for the vouchers, but it wanted residents to come up with half of that amount by May 7. 

The city only received 17 donations for $525.50, Haby said.

 "The (proposed facility) is a very bold move forward," Ewing said. "Friendswood needs to be participating in it." 

Mayor has concerns

Santa Fe Mayor Ralph Stenzel said he has concerns about the possibility of cities sharing the operating costs of the potential facility. He said his city has a contract with the county for animal control and doesn't feel like it is receiving value for what it pays. 

Stenzel said he fears the same situation could arise with the chemical collection facility.

 "I'd sure like to have some understanding on some things before we signed off on it," he said.

 League City Mayor Jerry Shults said he is interested in learning more about the proposed facility, but does have reservations about its location.

 "Typically when people say the northern part of the county, they're talking about League City or Friendswood," Shults said. "I'm not sure my citizens would support it being in League City. I'm certainly not willing to commit any funds to it at this point. We'll just have to wait and see."

For More Information Contact:
Kurt Koopmann
Public Information Officer
Galveston County Health District
409-938-2211 or 409-392-0007
kkoopman@gchd.org