Hazardous Materials collection site is now open

Call the center to set up appointment for free disposal

FORT DODGE – Ordinary household chemicals, which may not pose much danger in regular quantities, can become hazardous when large quantities come together in the landfill.

Residents in Webster and all the surrounding counties now have a safer way to get rid of used oil, oil paints, lawn chemicals and other potentially hazardous waste.

The Household Hazardous Waste Facility is now up and running, located at 2150 S. 22nd St., across from the existing Regional Recycling Center.

There has been a “soft opening” already, and the facility will officially begin regular business hours on March 7, said Jeff Feser, chief operations officer for the North Central Iowa Regional Solid Waste Agency.

“This is huge for the region,” Feser said. “It’s not just for Fort Dodge; we are looking at the region, and taking care of the whole picture.”

This is a great opportunity to divert more materials out of the landfill, and increase the types of things recycled in the area, he said.

During those regular business hours the center is open by appointment only, said Operations Manager Jessica Moffitt. This makes it as easy as possible for people to get in and out, and prevents people from having to wait, she said.

“It’s just being able to serve our customers in a better fashion,” Moffitt said.

Appointments are available from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 8 to 11 a.m. every first and third Saturday.

From June 1 to Aug. 31 the site will be open every Saturday.

Customers pull up under the drive-through, and technicians from the facility will come out and take their information and unload the materials.

“You don’t even have to get out of your vehicle,” Feser said.

The public can also pick up still-usable paints, cleaners and other items for free at the building’s swap shop, which is open the same hours.

“The inventory could change daily, just depending on what we put in there, what people take out,” Moffitt said. ”It’s just a nice way to get that stuff reused instead of going into the landfill.”

Households can bring in items for free, Moffitt said. Only three kinds of waste have any charge.

Latex paint costs $1 per can to dispose of, with a 20 can limit. Used fire extinguishers can be turned in for $6 apiece, and the agency charges $2 to dispose of sharps if they are not in a proper container.

Latex paint can also be thrown in the ordinary garbage once it has dried out and solidified.

The facility complements the waste agency’s existing recycling efforts. The new building is just across the parking lot from the facility which takes in glass, cardboard, paper and plastic from Fort Dodge and towns all over the region.

“Now we’re a well-rounded landfill,” Feser said.

Small businesses can also use the facility as “very small quantity generators,” Moffitt said.

Those will have a fee for disposal.

“They can come in and talk with me, I’ll run them through a system to see if they qualify for that. If they do we can take any of their household hazardous materials,” Moffitt said.

Iowa has had a household hazardous materials program since 1995. It’s funded by ordinary landfill tonnage fees across the state. Webster and Humboldt were some of the few counties not to have coverage under the program.

The waste agency has discussed building a hazardous materials collection site for more than two years now.

An architect was hired to design the site in May 2015. Kolacia Construction, of Fort Dodge, constructed the site for about $700,000.