Town Concerned About Home Chemicals

Highland Park Council are looking for ways to make disposal easier. (Photo: Jaquelin Torres)

A trip to the Dallas County Home Chemical Collection Center doesn’t involve getting out of the car.

Motorists show a driver’s license and utility bill to verify they live in a participating city and fill out a short form. Center workers unload the batteries, paints, oils, and other hazardous items that residents shouldn’t put out for regular trash service.

“Everybody just brings everything to us, and we try to accommodate them as best we can,” operations manager Earle Blakney said. But for some in Highland Park, the center’s address may be a problem.

The drive from Highland Park Town Hall to 11234 Plano Road covers a little more than 11 miles, but some residents assume it’s farther.

“The North Dallas location isn’t that far, but the street name turns you off,” Highland Park Town Council Member Margo Goodwin said.

In hopes of improving participation in the county’s hazardous waste program, town council members and staff have been looking at options for letting residents call or email to schedule home pick-up. A new program could roll out later this year.

“Residents want to do the right thing,” town administrator Bill Lindley said. “The issue is it’s not convenient.”

With one drop-off location to serve 900 square miles over portions of 16 cities plus unincorporated areas, convenience does prove an issue for some, agreed Rick Loessberg, the county’s director of planning and development.

Center employees unload and then sort household chemicals and other hazardous waste. (Photo: Jaquelin Torres)

“I think that location drives [lack of participation] as much as anything else,” he said.

Participation rates can run from less than half a percent (south Dallas) to nearly 3 percent (Richardson). In 2016, University Park residents dropped off waste 407 times at the center, a frequency equal to not much more than 1.5 percent of the population.

Participation in Highland Park has dropped steadily from 116 in 2013 to 104 in 2016, or only slightly more than the city of Dallas’ 1 percent participation rate.

Town leaders worry that could mean many residents are storing paints and other chemicals indefinitely in their homes or sending them to the landfill or down drains.

“You’ve got to think there’s more out there,” Mayor Joel Williams said.

Highland Park pays the county about $12,500 a year to use the collection center and would continue to do so when adding home pick-up service. Residents would call or email and a separate contractor would pick up the hazardous items. Adding that service would cost the town an estimated $12,600 extra.


MORE INFORMATION:

Where: 11234 Plano Road, Dallas

Hours: 9am – 7:30pm Tues, 8:30am – 5pm, Wed and Thurs,
9am – 3pm, second and fourth Sat

Questions: Call 214.553.1764 or visitdallascounty.org

William Taylor

William Taylor, editor of Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People, shares a name and a birthday with his dad and a love for community journalism with his colleagues at People Newspapers. He joined the staff in 2016 after more than 25 years working for daily newspapers in such places as Alexandria, Louisiana; Baton Rouge; McKinney; San Angelo; and Sherman, though not in anywhere near that order. A city manager once told him that “city government is the best government” because of its potential to improve the lives of its residents. William still enjoys covering municipal government and many other topics. Follow him on Twitter @Seminarydropout. He apologizes in advance to the Joneses for any angry Tweets that might slip out about the Dallas Cowboys during the NFL season. You also can reach him at [email protected]. For the latest news, click here to sign up for our newsletter.

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