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URBANA — Plans to open a year-round household hazardous waste collection facility in north Urbana are moving ahead, with three local governments kicking in more than $1 million to date toward the upfront costs.
The latest contributor is the city of Champaign, after the city council agreed to kick in $250,000 on a one-time basis.
Champaign County has already committed $650,000 and Urbana $175,000, both from their federal American Rescue Plan Act funding, according to a city of Champaign memo. Champaign is funding its contribution out of its general operating fund. The $1,075,000 total from local governments is just over half the $2 million the non-profit Champaign County Environmental Stewards is trying to raise to establish the facility.
The group’s Executive Director Susan Monte said land has already been purchased for the facility at 901 Saline Court, U, which is off North Lincoln Avenue, and that will be the location pending necessary permits being issued.
A one-year capital campaign was launched in August, and a more public campaign will begin in February or March of next year, she said.
Once enough money is available, permitting and construction could start late next year, and the facility could potentially open in mid-to-late 2025, Monte said.
In recent years, household hazardous waste items, for instance insecticides, pesticides and cleaning products, that shouldn’t be tossed in the trash have been accepted at an annual Illinois Environmental Protection Agency collection event in Champaign County.
But local officials have been working toward a more permanent option available year-round.
Monte said convenience is a key factor in providing an ongoing household hazardous waste collection program.
But there are also health and safety reasons — among them reducing the risk of fires ignited or accelerated by hazardous waste products, groundwater and surface water contamination due to dumping the products, accidental poisoning from exposure in the home and reducing firefighters’ exposure to hazardous products and toxic smoke when they respond to house fires, she said.
There are five such collection facilities in Illinois now, none in Central Illinois, according to Champaign’s Environmental Sustainability Specialist Nichole Millage in a memo to the city council.
“The nearest collection facility is two to three hours driving distance from Champaign County,” she said.
She and Monte say the Champaign County facility will be a collection facility only. The IEPA will handle transporting and disposing of the items collected, Millage said.
Her memo describes the proposed facility as 6,200 square feet with a covered customer drive-up receiving area, various sorting and storage areas, a two-bay loading dock, a re-use room and office.
Monte said Champaign County Environmental Stewards estimates annual operating cost of the facility would be $170,000.
The group “will ask local nearby governmental entities to annually contribute their fair-share portion of this cost, based on population,” she said. “This is likely to occur through agreements with each governmental entity.”
Yet to be decided is whether there would be user fees charged, Monte said. The five other collection facilities in the state don’t charge user fees, she said.
An architect’s rendering and a less-preliminary or final cost estimate is expected to be available in mid-November, Monte said.