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State grants help keep county clean

Island County Public Works and Public Health will each utilize state Department of Ecology grant funds to carry out waste management projects.

The county was one of seven regional recipients of the two-year grants designed to promote recycling, safely collect hazardous waste, prevent and clean up illegal dumping, and promote waste reduction, recycling and composting.

Public Works will have $241,671 in grant funds at its disposal. The money will be used for ongoing collection and disposal services of hazardous waste from households and small businesses.

One central facility and three satellite locations will provide 2,500 customers with disposal opportunities and collect 650,000 pounds of waste.

Public Health will use a $106,849 grant to review and process permit applications for solid waste handling facilities, as well as conduct approximately 120 inspections of solid waste handling facilities.

The county will also investigate and resolve roughly 200 complaints regarding solid waste issues like illegal dumping and littering.

“Ultimately, these grants keep hazardous wastes out of our local landfills through a three-pronged approach: public education, reducing waste, and accelerating recycling efforts,” said Gov. Chris Gregoire in a news release. “It makes good sense, for our economy and our environment, to invest in reducing and preventing waste now, rather than paying for costly cleanups later.”

Ecology has awarded 51 Coordinated Prevention Grants totaling $7.2 million to support responsible waste management in the agency’s Northwest region. Statewide, 119 city and county recipients will receive approximately $17.5 million for 176 projects that began Jan 1, 2008 and expire Dec 31, 2009.

Ecology awards the grants every two years to local governments. The funds come from a tax paid by wholesale distributors of petroleum and other hazardous materials, under the voter-approved Toxic Cleanup Act of 1989.

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