MANATEE — Farmers, businesses and other commercial sites will have an opportunity next month to safely and legally dispose of outdated pesticides or pesticides packed in deteriorating containers under a 10-year-old state program called Operation Cleansweep.
Farmers and businesses should call the state with the amount and types of hazardous material, and whether it is a solid or a liquid, said Terry McElroy, spokesman for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Some of the materials, such as chlordane and DDT, have been outlawed and may no longer be used.
The state will make an appointment for a state vendor to come to the farm or other site in December to package and haul away the hazardous material. Also partnering on Operation Cleansweep is the Department of Environmental Protection.
“It is a mobile pesticide program to provide a safe way to dispose of those materials from farms, nurseries, groves, golf courses, and commercial establishments,” said Peggy Dessaint, Manatee County commercial horticulture agent.
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“I think it’s a great idea. We don’t want these materials ending up in landfills. It’s a good way to move stuff off the shelf and get rid of outdated products.”
Ralph Garrison, president of the Manatee County Farm Bureau, called it a very good program.
“The farmers utilize it all the time. We’re grateful that they have the program,” Garrison said.
Previously, farmers and others who participated in the program delivered their hazardous materials to a central point.
But now with the vendors coming to the farm or grove, it reduces the chances of a hazardous spill in traffic.
“The vendor packages all the materials into 55-gallon lined drums and it is then shipped out of state to an approved disposal site,” McElroy said.
To date, more than 1.3 million pounds of pesticide products have been collected, according to a state press release.
The materials have come from nearly 1,900 participating farms, dairies, ranches, nurseries and professional pest control operations.
Operation Cleansweep protects agricultural workers, emergency responders, the public and the environment from potential health and environmental risks from stored pesticides.
To participate in Operation Cleansweep, agricultural interests and commercial pesticide applicators can call toll-free (877) 851-5285 or download the sign-up form at http://www.flaes.org/pdf/Flyer.pdf
Manatee County homeowners may dispose of their hazardous household waste the third Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Lena Road Landfill, 3333 Lena Road, East Manatee.
James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee editor, can be contacted at 745-7021.