- Report Published -
|The Demonstration Project in Bath County for the Collection and Recycling of Used Motor Oil and Antifreeze|
|Department of Transportation|
|The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has been collecting and recycling used motor oil and used antifreeze from the public at the Bath County demonstration project since July 1, 1993, based on House Bill (HB) 1463. Legislation was approved for each of three years from 1993 to 1995 to extend this recycling project through July 1, 1996. HB 380, enacted in 1994, also requested a statewide survey to identify jurisdictions where no commercial recycling facilities exist. HB 1716, enacted in 1995, requested that the advantages and disadvantages of recycling used motor materials be identified.|
The recycling project at Bath County collected 418 gallons of used motor oil from the public from July 1993 through September 1995. For comparative purposes, Advance Auto Parks in Lexington, Virginia. Also accepted and recycle used motor oil from the public. On the average, these stores received an estimated 200 gallons per month or approximately 5,400 gallons of used motor oil during this same 27-month period. VDOT also collected 17 gallons of used antifreeze during this period at the Bath County demonstration site.
District field engineers and managers were asked to assess the advantages and disadvantages of VDOT accepting used motor oil and used antifreeze from the public. The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) also collaborated in this evaluation. The results showed that there were environmental benefits in the collection of used motor materials from the public, but the disadvantages far exceeded the advantages. Major concerns included the potential acceptance of contaminated material from the public, the resulting disposal and disposal costs of this hazardous material, the high cost of testing for contaminants, and the environmental concerns for air and water quality as well as the possibility of human loss or injury in case of spills. In addition, the use of state facilities and resources in this recycling activity would inhibit the efforts of the business community and the petroleum industry in the privatization of this natural commercial activity.
Local used motor oil and used antifreeze collection programs have a positive and far-reaching impact on the communities they serve. Programs successful at diverting used oil and antifreeze from harmful disposal remove a threat to the environment, avoid cleanup costs, and capture a valuable natural resource for reuse. It is essential, however, that the collection and recycling programs be cost effective based on sound environmental decisions. Benefits and costs should be weighted objectively.
VDOT requires many recycling provisions in its construction and maintenance specifications and is proactively involved with numerous recycling programs. It is not the role of VDOT to implement a recycling program that accepts potentially hazardous materials from the public. Numerous legal and safety issues and concerns are involved if hazardous materials were introduced at the collection sites.
Communities should have proper and adequate recycling programs. The partnering of the industry and the private sectors will maximize the environmental needs of the communities with the costs to manage the programs.