County insists on taking metal items in cleanups

JOHNSTOWN – The Fulton County Department of Solid Waste recently changed its cleanup program guidelines for municipalities, clearing up confusion about the county’s role in salvaging bulky metal items.

“Whenever we present the cleanup program for municipalities, we would be handling bulky metals as well,” department Director Jeff Bouchard said today of the change.

He said revenues from metal salvage help defray costs of the program, including personnel, fuel and wear and tear on vehicles and containers. Bouchard said municipalities were notified of the change, but not all of them followed the guidelines – some continued to “outsource” the metals.

Bouchard recommended the county stop sponsoring cleanup programs for any municipality that prefers to handle bulk metals on its own. The Board of Supervisors’ Economic Development and Environment Committee voted to revise the guidelines, a move not requiring full board action.

He said cleanup programs were started on a trial basis in 1995 and have become a mainstay in the county. The program involves the county working with municipalities, which offer periodic programs to residents who want to get rid of various household junk. The program is offered by the county to the municipalities at a reduced rate.

Bouchard said modifications to the cleanup program procedures have occurred through the years, with the most recent discussions in 2011. At the time, he said he noted increased costs to operate the programs. He said it was decided two years ago that bulk metals – such as old appliances – brought into the program would be handled by his county department going forward.

Bouchard said municipalities now have the option of conducting their own cleanup programs. He said Gloversville, for example, offers its own once-per-month weekend programs from May through October.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected].

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