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By Jimmie Earls
Sun Staff Writer
Washington County is getting into the oil business ee" used oil, that is. At the Washington County Fiscal Court meeting Monday morning, the court agreed to enter into a contract with Universal Environmental Services to collect used oil in the county for recycling. The contract is open-ended, which means either party may cancel at any time as long as they provide 30 days written notice.
The action resulted from the suggestion of a committee comprised of Washington County Judge-Executive John Settles, Solid Waste Coordinator George Ann Palmer and magistrates Greg Simms and Hal B. Goode.
“We had a meeting on used oil recycling that had been brought up previously,” said Palmer. “The committee recommends that we get involved in used oil with Universal Environmental Services. They will place a 275-gallon tank inside the recycling center and we will be paid 20 cents a gallon for every gallon we recycle.”
According to the UES Web site, “After the used oil is transported to our processing facility, the used oil is analytically tested, according to the facility's waste analysis plan, before processing. The processing technology reduces the water content to a level of two percent or less and removes most particulates. The resultant product is then marketed to industrial burners, as a cost-effective alternative to virgin fuel oil.”
The idea of recycling oil is generating some positive feedback from local service stations. It is also a means for those who change their own oil in vehicles to safely dispose of the used oil instead of dumping it illegally.
“Jim Mazor from UES has visited local service stations and said that they would be interested in the service,” Settles added. “There are a lot of people that change their own oil and they really don't have any place to take it. So this will provide them a place at no charge. Nobody's going to get rich off 20 cents a gallon, but it's just trying to provide a service for not only the citizens, but local businesses as well.”
A concern of the court was whether the price paid to the county would fluctuate with changing oil prices.
“Are we locked into this 20 cents or are we on a floating scale?” asked Settles.
County attorney Hamilton Simms read from the proposed contract which stated, “Under miscellaneous, it says the customer may terminate this agreement if, within 30 days after notifying UES in writing, certain deficiencies have not been corrected, or requested price adjustment has not been administered.”
Palmer said UES would collect the oil every 30 days or more often if needed. She also stated that it would not require any additional manpower to provide the service to the county.
Settles added, “I talked to our insurance company and to emergency management because I wanted to make sure that none of this was considered hazardous material. I wanted to check with insurance to make sure we weren't creating a greater liability by storing the oil inside. You try to check all of the possibilities and hope you cover all the bases.”
In other business
• The court made some decisions on insurance premiums, voting to keep the current limits of liability for errors and omissions, employment practices, law enforcement, auto liability and general liability. The current premiums amount to $36,851 for $1 million worth of coverage for single incidents and $3 million combined. The exception would be auto liability, which provides a combined single limit of $1 million. To increase the limits to $3 million/$5 million, $3 million for auto liability, it would have cost the county $44,221, an increase of $7,370.
• The court also voted to opt out of earthquake insurance and agreed to pay $1,229 for prior acts coverage. This is a one-time charge that will provide liability coverage for any claims that are made after July 1, 2009 for actions that occurred prior to that date.
• Road department supervisor Albert Wimsatt reported that blacktopping has begun. Judge Settles asked the magistrates to provide a list of roads in their district that need resurfacing. The state is offering to provide resurfacing for some roads but needs the list by Friday.
“I have until Friday to submit a list to the state,” Settles said. “We have the possibility of getting extra blacktop money. I've been told it's around $150,000, but that's not in-hand. The process that goes through is when we turn in the list, that goes to the state road district, who will come out and make sure those roads are approved.”
Settles added that certain stipulations apply to any road approved for state funding. County crews will not be allowed to do the work, the work must be contracted through the state and it must be a road that is already surfaced.
“We cannot go from gravel or chip and seal to blacktop and we cannot do any guardrail or bridges. It has to be strictly resurfacing of roads that already have a surface. It has to be contracted, we can't do it with our men or equipment, so that means the money won't go as far. We need to see what roads we can do with the county money and then we'll have to look at the balance of roads that are in the worst condition. Hopefully the state will approve those roads.”
The next fiscal court meeting is scheduled for Aug. 28 at 9 a.m.