Spencer residents will soon have a place to safely dispose of hazardous materials for free.
The facility is set to open on Sept. 24, according to Spencer Public Works Director Mark White.
On Tuesday evening, the Spencer City Council approved a service agreement with Tradebe Treatment and Recycling, of East Chicago, Ind., to dispose of the materials collected at the facility.
"We need a place to send those materials we collect," City Attorney Don Hemphill said. "This firm will collect periodically, at least every six months, the hazardous materials we collect and dispose of them."
Hemphill reviewed the contract and raised one concern.
"What bothered me was the provision that said if we somehow gave them something terrible they can't deal with, we're responsible for all costs," Hemphill said. "But, a contract with a firm like this is going to have a clause like that."
"I do have some concerns with the risks involved and the process of accepting, storing and disposing of household chemicals," Hemphill continued. "We're going to visit more with our insurance carrier to see what options might be available. My perception is there is risk that goes along with this process. This contract is one step in doing that, to have a place to dispose of the material once we collect it."
Tradebe's prices range from $45 per 55 gallons of antifreeze and oil to $350 per 55 gallons of oxidizers and $405 per cubic yard of flammables. Transportation costs range from $350 to $1,800, depending on the amount of material. If a chemist is needed to handle the materials, the cost is $800 plus $45 per hour.
White explained that the project is in conjunction with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, who will train those who handle the materials at the site.
"It will be open for residents in the planning area at no charge," White said of Spencer residents. "Anybody who is not in the planning area can bring materials in, but there will be a charge for that. Also, small businesses that qualify can bring materials in for a charge as well."
The facility will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. by appointment and from 9 a.m. to noon by appointment on the first and third Saturdays of each month. An Oct. 25 open house is planned.
In other business, the council:
- Learned from City Manager Bob Fagen that the River Enhancement Community Attraction and Tourism board is recommending the approval of a $172,000 grant for Spencer's riverfront enhancement project, which includes the Little Sioux River trail and boardwalk. The Vision Iowa board will act on the recommendation next month. Work on the project is slated to start in spring of 2013.
- Received clarifications and updates from Spencer Police Chief Mark Lawson about two recent assaults. "We do not have someone randomly running around, attacking and beating people," Lawson said. "These were situations where some people got worked up, had a bit too much to drink and the outcome was bad for both combatants. We have two people up in jail on serious charges. The other two, unfortunately, are still in critical condition up in Sioux Falls."
- Approved $80,000 in payments to the Spencer Jobs Trust to pay for eight applications to the Quality Housing Initiative program, which provides an incentive for new homes priced between $110,000 and $180,000.
- Approved the future allocation of $83,500 from the hotel/motel revenues to the Spencer Municipal Golf Course equipment fund over the next three years.