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Harmon solid waste station opens

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 by Jolene Toves

Guam - The Harmon Residential Transfer Station and Household Hazardous Waste Facility is now open and marks a milestone for compliance with the Ordot consent decree.

It's time to start collecting your household hazardous materials from garages, kitchens and closets and bring it down to the Guam Solid Waste Authority's new facility as the Harmon Residential Transfer Station is now open. According to District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco Gatewood this represents a cost effective disposal and recycling facility. "This new residential transfer station will offer a low cost way to properly dispose of trash. This new facility replaces the one that closed when the Ordot Dump closed its operations," she said.

The opening of this facility is crucial to the 2004 Ordot consent decree as Judge Gatewood says that by recycling to the maximum extent possible and only disposing of the waste that is not recyclable at transfer stations in Harmon, Dededo, Agat and Malojloj residents will pay a fraction of the cost of curbside recycling. "Recycling is always free at any transfer station. This facility also offers a safer way to dispose of household hazardous waste as is required this is a requirement by the consent decree," she said.

Among the requirements of the consent decree is for GovGuam to create the capacity to collect and properly dispose of household hazardous waste on island. Household hazardous waste are products such as paints, cleaners, oils and pesticides that contain potentially hazardous materials when you dispose of them. Judge Gatewood says that in the past Guam EPA had occasionally collected and disposed of these materials but Guam has never before had a regular program to handle such waste on a regular basis.

"This new program is only available at this new facility and will offer the service free of charge to Guam's households. Business governmental and other private organizations should contact the Guam Solid Waste Authority or Guam EPA for advice on how they should dispose of such materials," she said.

She says that there is no doubt that this is a milestone in the implementation of the consent decree. "As I have indicated just a few moment ago the end of the receivership is in site we are almost close to the finish line eleven months from now I mean that's what I approved that timeline is approved Government of Guam wants the receivers out ASAP I don't blame them. They want to take over and they probably should," she said.

Judge Gatewood says there are other looming issues that she will be addressing in court and will be issuing guidance in the future on how the remaining requirements of the consent decree will be addressed but the opening of this facility is one item they can check off their list. 
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