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03-04-03: No area resting place for refrigerators past prime
The Daily Standard
    Have an old refrigerator or stove to get rid of? Good luck.
    Large appliances might be the most difficult items to dispose of in Mercer County. They can't be put out on regular garbage day, they won't be picked up during annual bulk pickup days and auto wrecking yards don't want anything to do with them.
    The only solution for the general public is Mercer County's household hazardous waste drop-off day, held at the Mercer County Fairgrounds in early autumn. The hazardous waste drop-off day was held the last two years, and local residents could get rid of such things as appliances and paint cans.
    County Sanitarian Kent Hinton said the days were a huge success, with loads of waste being hauled to Omnisource Corp. in Lima, where the metal is sold for scrap.
    Each day cost the county approximately $20,000, which was paid for by tipping fees. Garbage haulers pay the county tipping fees on a per-ton basis when leaving waste at the landfill.
    Last year, local junkyard owner Ron "Butch" Piper donated a truck and labor and hauled the waste to Omnisource, and then donated the scrap metal payment back to the county.
    Piper has a licensed junkyard on Mud Pike, just outside of Celina, and is one of the few people who will take large appliances throughout the year.
    From time to time complaints are aimed at Piper, who has two other properties in Celina that have been deemed eyesores by city government.
    Recently, one of Piper's Mud Pike neighbors has been complaining about the junkyard accepting old refrigerators with the ozone-killing freon gas refrigerant still inside.
    Jerry Jutte has called local newspapers, radio and television stations. He took pictures of people and businesses dropping off old appliances to show the health department. One of the pictures Jutte took was of a Ron's Appliances truck dumping appliances.
    Mercer County's Director of Environmental Health Michelle Kimmel inspected the site recently and found several large appliances. But, if any clean air laws were being broken, Kimmel had no authority to enforce them, she said.
    Kimmel told The Daily Standard that she called the Ohio Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and found that the clean air rules regarding freon were out of the state's authority. After putting a call in to the U.S. EPA, Kimmel discovered the federal agency wasn't willing to respond to the possibility of a violation at Piper's junkyard, due to the small size of the operation.
    Piper told The Daily Standard on Monday that he only takes refrigerators that have been "tagged," showing that the freon has been properly removed.
    Ron Wilkey, owner of Ron's Appliances in Celina, said he makes sure the refrigerant is removed before hauling junk over to Piper's. The gas is reclaimed into a bottle and then shipped to a company that disposes of or recycles the gas.
    Aside from Piper, or another junk dealer, a person would have a hard time disposing of a large appliance. Simply bringing it to Omnisource won't work because that company buys scrap metal by the pound.
    "They really are pretty hard to get rid of," Wilkey said.


Phone: (419)586-2371,   Fax: (419)586-6271
All content copyright 2003
The Standard Printing Company
P.O. Box 140, Celina, OH 45822