Martin Kidston

(Missoula Current) Two years after approving a project aimed at storing and disposing household hazardous waste, Missoula County expects the facility to be operational by fall.

While a number of steps still need to be completed, Elena Evans said the year-round disposal program is working through a number of requirements and should open for Last Best Haz Waste Days this September.

“There's been a delay in getting the year-round facility up and going,” said Evans, the county's environmental health manager. “We want to provide an opportunity for folks to really clear out what they have sitting in their garage and sheds.”

Two years ago, the county signed a contract with U.S. Chemical to establish a year-round disposal site. The project will be established at HomeResource but required a number of steps that have taken longer than expected to complete.

Among them, Evans said the county has worked through the various cost of disposal, from flammable materials to oxidizers. They're also working with the Montana Department of Labor and Industry to get the required inspection.

“We recently submitted our application to the state for the license to have this recycling center. Those things are moving forward,” she said. “We're also working on pollution and prevention insurance. We needed an electrician to get in to make sure the vent fans and working, and to have the dry chemical extinguisher signed off on and tested.”

County officials have said that most household hazardous waste storage is operated by landfills, but in Missoula that doesn't exist. Establishing a disposal site marks an “attempt to bring that type of service to Missoula.”

“There's a few steps and we're inching closer,” said Evans. “It's soon and we're confident we'll be open by September.”