For Release: Thursday, January 2, 2014
DEC Announces CleanSweepNY Collects a Record-Breaking 138,000 Pounds of Chemicals for Disposal
Successful Program Prevents Unwanted Chemicals from Damaging New York's Environment
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) collected a record-breaking 138,000 pounds of chemicals during the past CleanSweepNY program, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. Eleven counties in the Western Finger Lakes region participated in October in the program, which helps promote a healthy and sustainable New York by providing opportunities for businesses, farms and schools to properly dispose unwanted or obsolete pesticides and other chemicals.
"We've experienced a 150 percent increase in the amount of chemicals we collected this year," Commissioner Martens said. "This overwhelming response is helping to keep unwanted pesticides and other chemicals out of our environment, communities and municipal solid waste landfills. We are pleased that so many farmers, schools, businesses and institutions in the region participated in this opportunity to help build a toxic-free future for New York State."
DEC rotates CleanSweepNY locations throughout the state. In the fall, 211 businesses, municipalities and schools in Chemung, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne and Yates counties submitted an estimated 138,000 pounds of chemicals.
The collected waste included 71,689 pounds of pesticides, 16,839 pounds of school chemicals generally from science labs, 22,209 pounds of paint and 94 pounds of elemental mercury, as well as 377 mercury devices and 222 aerosol containers. DEC also collected over 200 empty, triple-rinsed HDPE (#2) plastic pesticide containers. DEC contracted with a waste hauler for proper disposal of all chemicals.
Some of the CleanSweepNY's participants included: West Genessee School District, Prattsburgh Central School District, Rochester City School District, Town of Horseheads and the Town of Farmington.
This fall's CleanSweepNY collection event was the 15th since the program's inception in 2002. To date, DEC has collected and disposed of approximately 1.2 million pounds of hazardous chemicals, 800 pounds of elemental mercury and approximately 4,000 plastic pesticide containers that were not disposed of in landfills.
This latest success builds upon DEC's previous efforts. DEC collected approximately 51,863 pounds of hazardous chemicals from 85 participants during the CleanSweepNY event in 2010.
CleanSweepNY is an Environmental Benefit Project, administered in partnership with the Natural Heritage Trust (NHT), and was initially established with approximately $2.2 million from several enforcement settlements in DEC's pest management program. CleanSweepNY services are available to agricultural and non-agricultural professional pesticide applicators, schools and certain businesses that use pesticides such as golf courses, cemeteries and marinas.
DEC organizes CleanSweepNY events in collaboration with the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT). The collection events were held at DOT facilities in Watkins Glen, Hornell, Lakeville and East Rochester. DEC staff also traveled to six locations to pick up material that could not otherwise be safely handled or transported.
The program is endorsed by Cornell Cooperative Extension, the Agricultural Container Recycling Council, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, the New York Farm Bureau and related agricultural associations.
For more information on CleanSweepNY, visit http://www.cleansweepny.org or call toll free: 1-877-SWEEPNY (877-793-3769).