After kittens found with chemical burns, Athens group seeks household hazardous waste disposal help

A litter of kittens was found in a storm drain covered in paint. An Athens organization wants to make sure this doesn't happen again by adding a household hazardous disposal to the city.

Posted: Aug 20, 2019 7:01 PM
Updated: Aug 21, 2019 8:44 AM

A litter of cats is recovering from chemical burns after someone poured extra paint down a storm drain in Athens.

It's been eleven years since the city of Athens held a disposal for household hazardous items.

Roxanne Spicer, who lives in Athens, told WAAY 31, "I myself have 3-5 buckets of paint that's like a quarter full that I need to get rid of and there's nowhere to dump this stuff and you can't put it out by the garbage. They won't pick it up."

Lynne Hart, Executive Coordinator of Keeping Athens and Limestone County Beautiful, has tried for more than a decade to fix this problem.

She sent a survey to 100 people who live in Limestone County about potential funding for a household hazardous disposal and how they're currently disposing these materials.

Participants said they're waiting to get rid of their hazardous materials at a pick up event. Some said they're burying or even burning the substances because they don't know where else to dispose of it.

"Automobile fluids, household cleaners, fertilizer, bug spray...You can't and shouldn't put them in your regular trash, but with no other way to dispose of them, people are finding other ways to get rid of them," says Hart.

She brought it to the attention of the Limestone County Commission, but nothing's happened so far.

WAAY 31 spoke with the mayor of Athens and the Limestone County Chairman who said they're willing to sit down with the organization and talk about funding. The county also said they want to establish an annual program to dispose of these materials.

Hart said if the county provides funds for a household hazardous waste disposal, she'll provide the volunteers.

"We really need to think about those things. Just because you can't see it doesn't mean it's gone away. It's gone somewhere," says Hart.

The organization plans to meet with the city on Monday to discuss the cost of adding this service and how it will be funded.

If you're looking to dispose your household hazardous materials, Huntsville and Decatur both offer services. 

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