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Recycling centers make slick work of oil disposal

RONDA SLUDER

Disposing used motor oil and other hazardous wastes just got easier for Truckee and North Tahoe residents, thanks to four new recycling centers from Americlean Environmental Services.

According to B.J. Bergmann, principal environmental engineer for Americlean, the company has spent the last two years establishing a used oil recycling collection network in Truckee and the North Tahoe area. The company is a contractor to the Town of Truckee.

“The town was very pro-active in realizing it was a regional problem, not just their own,” Bergmann said. “Before there was only one location to take used motor oil in Truckee for recycling. Now we have expanded to five centers strategically located in a five-mile drive from everybody.”

Bergmann said the centers are free of charge. They are located at local businesses throughout the area that agreed to become California certified used oil collection centers.

The first and original center is located at the Donner Park Union 76. The second center is the Union 76 on Donner Pass Road and Highway 267 which serves communities such as Glenshire, Martis Valley and Boca. The third center is at Stone’s Country Tire and Automotive in Kings Beach, which also serves Tahoe Vista and Carnelian Bay.

The fourth center is at the Chevron station in Tahoe City. Residents from Dollar Hill, West Shore and Alpine Meadows can use this facility.

The fifth center is the East Regional Landfill between Tahoe City and Truckee.

Bergmann said oil from these recycling centers is transported by private haulers to recycling plants out of the area, where it gets re-refined into new motor oil.

“It’s turning waste into resource,” Bergmann said. “Oil never goes bad, it just gets dirty.”

Bergmann said that in 1994 only 2,500 gallons of used oil was collected, compared to more than 20,000 gallons collected this past fiscal year. He said the increase is due to people’s awareness of alternative recycling centers.

“Our objective is to make centers convenient and free for people to properly recycle used oil,” Bergmann said. “It should be just as easy as recycling aluminum cans.”

Bergmann said there are some rules people need to follow in order to use the recycling centers. First, he said used oil cannot be mixed with any other liquid.

“Fuels, anti-freeze, brake fluid, paints and solvents, cannot be mixed with the oil you want to bring in,” Bergmann said.

Another stipulation is that used oil must be transported five gallons per container, with no more than 20 gallons being recycled per trip.

Americlean has also set up a program for small businesses who use less than 27 gallons during a month, since their waste is managed differently from residents. Bergmann said they can transport their used oil to the East Regional Landfill free of charge.

They will then be issued a receipt stating they are a business generator. Bergmann said it can cost about $80 to have a private service collect used motor oil.

Bergmann said Americlean also offers an Oilmobile program. He said this program offers one on one public education to people living in remote areas and at special events.

“We hope it attracts the attention of seasonal residents,” Bergmann said. “We will collect people’s uncontaminated oil for free and distribute used oil containers to local residents which are convenient to transport oil in, unlike milk jugs or coffee cans.”

The next Oilmobile stop is in Glenshire this Saturday (July 26), from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A regional household collection day at the East Regional landfill is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 23. There will be a small business collection day, by appointment only, tentatively scheduled for Friday, Aug. 22.

“The idea of all of this is to keep Truckee and North Tahoe a beautiful area,” Bergmann said. “People don’t realize when they dump used oil into sewers it goes into rivers and lakes, not to some plant.”

For information on public and business toxic collection days, call 889-7417.


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