Grant sought for collection facility. Residents would be able to dispose of household hazardous
Household Waste Facility
By THAYER EVANS
May 17, 2007
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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."
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
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
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:
Public Information Officer
Galveston County Health District
409-938-2211 or 409-392-0007