From medicine to bikes, disposal available
BY DALE HOGG
The Barton County Landfill has several programs available free throughout year to county residents. The goals of these is to help keep potential toxins out of the water supply and preserve the life of the waste facility, said Landfill Manager Mark Witt.
First, the landfill is permitted to take old, outdated medications. These can be prescription or over-the-counter items, but cannot be narcotics, Witt said.
Witt just asks that folks mark out their names and personal information, but leave the drug name so it can be identified. Landfill personnel will make the items inert and dispose of them on site.
Often, such medicines are flushed down toilets. Eventually, they find their way to public water sources and kill or sterilize aquatic life, not to mention poison the water for humans.
Second is the electronic waste, or e-waste, program which is available to residents or businesses. The landfill will accept old, broken or worn-out computers, printers, televisions and other electronic devices.
Using trailers provided by a facility in Lyons, the county hauls the items to Rice County for processing. It pays 10 cents a pound for the service.
Thirdly, there is the bicycle recycling program, which has been in place since 2001. Old bikes can be dropped off at the landfill and, a couple of times a year, loads are delivered to the Ellsworth Correctional Facility for restoration by the inmates.
Many are returned to Great Bend for use during the annual Bike Rodeo for local youth. Many bikes are given to kids during this event.
For more information, call the landfill, 620-793-1898.
For years, the State of Kansas, through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s Bureau of Waste Management, operated three facilities for the storage of methamphetamine-related materials. Law enforcement officers would bring the contaminated items to landfills in Great Bend, Ottawa and Wichita.
When these facilities were full, the state contracted with a hazardous waste company to haul it away and dispose of it.
However, that program ended in July 2009, said Barton County Landfill Manager Mark Witt. He jumped on the opportunity.
Working with the BWM, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Kansas Attorney General’s Office, he worked out an agreement to keep a storage building at his facility. This made Barton County the only location in Kansas authorized to accept such waste.
The county charges $2.50 per pound to take the items and then disposes of them. He and his staff have training in this area.
“These are mostly household products,” he said. So, the work is allowed under the landfill’s Household Hazardous Waste permit.
Soon, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation will take over the program, which is fine with Witt. “This is great. This is what I envisioned all along.”
The building will remain at the landfill, but the KBI will operate it. For now, it remains the only site in Kansas.
Witt did stress that no meth is stored at the location.