Why DuPage County is delaying vote to help fund hazardous waste center

  • Naperville's Household Hazardous Waste collection facility opened in February 2015 as one of only four such facilities in the state. Now some DuPage County Board members are questioning whether the facility is worth funding.

      Naperville's Household Hazardous Waste collection facility opened in February 2015 as one of only four such facilities in the state. Now some DuPage County Board members are questioning whether the facility is worth funding. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer, February 2015

 
 
Updated 6/12/2019 7:44 PM

The DuPage County Board has postponed a decision on whether to provide $100,000 to help fund the Household Hazardous Waste collection facility in Naperville after some members raised questions about procedure and how the arrangement benefits the entire county.

Board members were scheduled to vote this week on an intergovernmental agreement to provide funding for the continued operation of the facility at 156 Fort Hill Drive that accepts things such as antifreeze, asbestos, batteries, household cleaners, oil-based paints and mercury.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

But the issue was tabled until June 25 after Jim Zay asked why the proposed agreement wasn't reviewed by the board's finance committee before the final vote. The Carol Stream Republican said the finance panel should have reviewed the proposed agreement because of the $100,000 expenditure.

Zay said he also was concerned about data that shows many of the DuPage residents who used the facility in 2018 were from Naperville.

"We have a household hazardous waste (facility) that benefits, if you look at the numbers, mostly Naperville and not a lot in my district," Zay said.

According to data provided by the county, more than 6,600 cars from the DuPage side of Naperville used the facility in 2018. In comparison, 213 cars came from Carol Stream.

Zay said he doesn't think residents who live in northern DuPage want to make the trip to the facility, which is open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, excluding holidays.

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He suggested the county host hazardous waste collection events in other locations.

But officials say a large hazardous waste collection event would cost anywhere from $50,000 to $150,000.

Meanwhile, county board member Elizabeth Chaplin said there are only four facilities in Illinois that accept household hazardous waste.

"This is one of them," said Chaplin, the Downers Grove Democrat who serves as chairwoman of the environmental committee. "So if we don't approve this, we will not have a facility in this area."

The cities of Naperville and Aurora, as well as Kane and Will counties, also contribute money to help fund the facility.

County board member Pete DiCianni said he supports funding the facility because it serves a unique purpose.

"We don't have any other facility in Elmhurst or in Carol Stream or in Addison to go to remove waste," the Elmhurst Republican said. "As an advocate for the environment and for the safety of this county, I think we need to look big picture."

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