WENATCHEE — As of this week, Aaron Johnson has a new office. He’s Chelan County’s lead hazard waste technician at the $2.6 million Moderate Risk Waste Facility, which opened with a ribbon cutting Thursday.
“This facility here is for your household hazardous waste — things that you don’t want to take to the landfill and shouldn’t take to the landfill,” Johnson says. “It’s common items found in your garage, under your sink, in the workshop.”
Household hazardous wastes, or HHWs, include paint, pesticides, varnishes, fertilizers, motor oils, fluorescent lightbulbs, and other toxic consumer chemicals. In the past, Chelan County has staged pop-up chemical collections at various sites. The new center creates one consistent collection point.
“Hopefully this beginning of a new facility is the end of a time-honored tradition of not remembering when the pickup is, and so you use the side of the road or your driveway or whatever,” joked Chelan County Commissioner Doug England.
Building the center took four years from planning to opening, with the bulk of funds contributed by the county and state, plus more than $500,000 from the cities of Wenatchee, Chelan, Leavenworth, Entiat and Cashmere.
The Moderate Waste Facility is at 3612 Highway 97A, just north of the Stemilt roundabout. It’s open Thursdays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There’s no charge for Chelan County residents to drop off their HHWs, but a $10 donation is encouraged.