By Michael Hilborn

Chilly temperatures and the constant threat of rain failed to dampen the efforts of district residents to get the lead (and other things) out of their homes and garages on Saturday.
The fifth-annual Household Hazardous Waste Day once again gave people an opportunity to rid themselves of old paint, motor oil, and other unsavoury items when the Rainy River Watershed Program teamed up with Clean Harbours Canada of Winnipeg.
And residents came through.
“I was really pleased with the turnout considering the weather,” watershed co-ordinator Adam Scott said Monday.
Scott noted preliminary estimates indicate about 260 vehicles, representing roughly 275 households from across the district, dropped by the Public Works yard on Fifth Street West here to rid themselves of unwanted materials not suitable for disposal at the landfill site.
The range of items dropped off Saturday ran from the usual paint and used motor oil to expired medications and propane cylinders. The most unusual item to turn up was a container of DDT pesticide that probably dates back more than 40 years.
The use of DDT was banned across North America many years ago when it was found to have long-term environmental implications.
But, by far, the most common product was old paint, which did not come as a surprise to Scott and the other organizers.
“A lot of people do renovations to the homes and cottages all the time so we expected this,” Scott remarked.
The numbers did appear to be down slightly from last year, although the amount brought in by each person/vehicle was somewhat higher.
Last year, for instance, 363 vehicles representing 415 households brought in 16,000 kg of unwanted waste. This year’s estimates showed 260 vehicles from 275 district residences checking in with 12,000-13,000 kg.
Each vehicle brought in an average of 45 kg, which was more than last year.
Scott said he was not particularly disappointed nor surprised by the slightly lower numbers.
“With these events, there tends to be a peak year when people say, ‘OK, let’s get this stuff out of here today,’” he reasoned. “I understand the weather last year was beautiful, too.
“I can’t complain.”
This year’s event was held in conjunction with the town’s decision to waive tipping fees for the day at the local landfill for the purpose of allowing residents to bring in yard and garden waste free of charge.
Scott said he saw a lot vehicles pull into the Public Works yard with brush and compost in the back, which he assumed was on its way to the dump after dropping off the hazardous waste.
“I would imagine it was a pretty busy day there [at the landfill], too,” he offered.
“I can’t complain,” Scott concluded. “Overall, there was a high level of participation.”