CHEMSWEEP, a state program for the proper and safe disposal of expired, outdated, or discontinued pesticides, will be offered in 21 counties in Pennsylvania in 2011. It's for farmers, agricultural businesses and pest control companies that register with the state. Don Gilbert, Environmental Specialist with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, explains that prior to CHEMSWEEP, there was no way of safely disposing of harmful pesticides. He says due to limited resources, they rotate the counties each year. The counties included in this year's program are: Adams, Cameron, Clearfield,Clinton, Crawford, Erie, Fayette, Franklin, Greene, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lehigh, Mercer, Monroe, Northhampton, Perry, Pike, Potter, Schuylkill, Somerset and Westmoreland. Gilbert says changing the counties helps keep the program manageable.
The chemicals are burned in an incinerator that's approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency. The Department of Agriculture hires an independent contractor to collect and package all waste pesticides. There is no cost for under 2,000 pounds worth of materials. Gilbert says for anything over that, there would be a charge at the Department of Agriculture's contracted price.
Licensed pesticide applicators in agribusinesses and commercial enterprises who want to participate in the CHEMSWEEP program must register with the PA Department of Agriculture by March 31.
Individual counties and municipalities hold separate hazardous waste collections for each year for homeowners to dispose of unwanted chemicals. They partner with the state Department of Environmental Protection.