OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Johnson County will allocate additional funds toward creating a new hazardous waste recycling center.
The Household Hazardous Waste Facility (HHWF) project was approved by the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) as part of the 2022 budget. The $3 million capital project will create a new hazardous waste recycling facility near U.S. 69 Highway in Overland Park.
The county has operated the current HHWF in Mission for roughly 30 years.
That site accepts, recycles and disposes of common household materials that cannot be thrown away with regular trash, including things like fluorescent light bulbs, aerosol cans and paint.
In June, Assistant County Manager Joe Waters informed the board the county was facing a $3.7 million shortfall in capital project budgets due to rising inflation.
“We have seen extraordinary construction cost escalation in these last two and a half years,” Waters said.
Waters said in the last two years construction costs for the HHWF project have increased by roughly 54%.
On Thursday, the BOCC voted 6-1 to approve allocating an additional $610,000 for the HHWF project, bringing the total cost of the project to roughly $3.6 million.
Mary Beverly, environmental division director for the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, said in 2021 the facility received roughly 1.2 million pounds of materials to be recycled.
“Some of that material can be reused, recycled, repurposed. Some of it has to be shipped off, of course that’s why we have a transporter. Subtracting out some of those materials, we are almost at 500,000 pounds per year,” Beverly said.
Commissioner Michael Ashcraft was the only board member to vote against allocating additional money for the project.
“I do not see the cost-benefit ratio of this amount, for what appears to be less than a few percent of the actual amount that is generated that already goes into the landfill,” Ashcraft said. “I think it would be inconsequential to the landfill to continue to do that and use this money for something else that would be more impactful.”
The board also approved the transfer of $1million from county general fund reserves to the public building commission for the project.
Waters said the county has prioritized the completion of the HHWF to make way for upcoming wastewater improvements at the Nelson Wastewater Facility.
“The Household Hazardous Waste Facility sits right in the heart of the Nelson Wastewater Treatment Complex. Right in the center of the property, that plant is a significant rebuild. Reconstruction of that plant is on the books, it’s marching forward quickly,” Waters said. “This small project needs to get out of its way.”
Waters estimates construction of the new HHWF will be complete by mid-2023.
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