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Paynesville Press - Sept. 10, 2003

Oil recycling depot opens

By Ryan Flanders and Michael Jacobson

oil barrellsThe new Paynesville Area Oil Depot is open for use by the public. The facility - located on the west side of the Paynesville Township maintenance garage - was built over the past two weeks and is now available to the public to recycle used oil, oil filters, and antifreeze.

The oil depot - one of a half dozen in Stearns County - will be open 24 hours per day on a self-serve basis. An electric light will light the depot for people to make trips to the facility after dark, especially important in the winter months.

The idea behind the oil depot is that oil is very hazardous to the environment and that regular people just need a place to recycle used oil to avoid dumping it.

People who change oil themselves can buy oil easily enough but often are stuck with the used oil, said township supervisor Harry Thielen. Recycling the oil is "better than dumping the oil in the woods or a ditch," said Thielen, "which is what I think some people are doing."

While recycling oil is free, people who use the facility will be asked to make a small contribution for disposing of their oil filters or antifreeze. The suggested contribution is $1 per gallon of antifreeze and 50 per oil filter.

The facility - which has a 4,000-gallon, double-walled tank for used oil - was built using SCORE funds, which come from taxes on garbage collection and are meant to encourage recycling. SCORE funds paid for 75 percent of the facility, and the rest came from East Side Oil Company, which will recycle the used oil, oil filters, and antifreeze.

oil recycling depot Paynesville Township and the city of Paynesville will share the cost for maintaining the facility, which is estimated to cost $2,000 per year. Township employees expect to spend an hour a week making sure the oil depot is neat and clean, checking the tank for leaks, emptying the cash box, and notifying East Side Oil Company when it's time to pick up the oil.

The suggested contributions should cover the cost for East Side Oil to make trips to Paynesville and to recycle the oil, filters, and antifreeze. But the city and township will be liable if the suggested contributions are not made by the public.

The facility - which is complete except for walls and a roof, which are scheduled to be built this week - has signs to direct the public how to use the facility. No gasoline or solvents are accepted, and the public should be careful to put the used oil, oil filters, and antifreeze in the proper receptacle. Illegal dumping can be prosecuted under federal law.

The facility is open to the public, whether they live in the city or township or not. "We'd rather have them dump in our facility than dump it in the ditch," said Thielen.

Though the oil depot is already open, a grand opening ceremony is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 22, at 7:30 p.m. with city, county, and township officials scheduled to attend.



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