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Volunteers process dropped off items Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017 during the McLean County Household Hazardous Waste Collection at the Rivian Automotive parking lot, Normal. Organized by the Ecology Action Center, McLean County residents were able to get rid of "toxic, flammable, corrosive, explosive or reactive" items, including pesticides, oil-based paints, mercury thermometers, old gasoline, cleaning products, insecticides and lawn chemicals.

NORMAL — McLean County's household hazardous waste collection is back for 2019 — but so is the need for community funding.

The Normal-based Ecology Action Center hopes to raise $35,000 this summer to support the fall event, which will offer residents the chance to drop off materials like paint, flammable liquids, pesticide and aerosols.

"Improper disposal of household hazardous wastes pollutes local water supplies and the environment," according to an EAC release. "Whether it is thrown out with regular trash going to a municipal waste landfill, dumped illegally down the drain, storm sewer, or in a ditch, these actions compromise the safety of drinking water, thereby threatening the health and well-being of area residents."

No date has been set for this year's waste collection. The 2017 event was the best-attended yet, serving 3,022 households and disposing of 23,717 gallons of material. EAC coordinated similar local events in 2015 and 2012 after the state stopped funding similar collections.

“We are one of only a handful of Illinois communities stepping up to provide for (household hazardous waste) collection in the absence of reliable Illinois (Environmental Protection Agency) funding," said EAC Executive Director Michael Brown in a release, "and the only community anywhere that I am aware of that provides this service through a combination of public and private funding."

Public donors include the city of Bloomington, town of Normal and McLean County. Area Disposal Services, Compeer Financial, Henson Disposal and Recycling, Illinois Farm Bureau, Republic Services and Rivian Automotive are also supporting the event.

The 2017 collection cost $141,294. The city contributed $63,000; the town, $43,400; and the county, $33,600.

Previous events were held in the parking lot at Rivian.

Last August, Brown said officials were still working on a permanent household hazardous waste collection facility in McLean County, but it was unlikely to be finished in time to supplant 2019 or 2021 collection events.

More information is available at HHWmclean.org and 309-454-3169.

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Contact Derek Beigh at (309) 820-3234. Follow him on Twitter: @pg_beigh

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