PARKERSBURG - A free spoiled food drop off service provided to residents within days after last June's derecho was an unanticipated, but much needed service.
Officials with the Wood County Solid Waste Authority, which sponsored the collection, said it will be included in the county emergency response procedure for future post-storm disaster response services.
The spoiled food drop off was provided at no cost at Erickson field. More than 40 tons of smelly, spoiled food were taken to the landfill.
John Reed, director of the Solid Waste Authority, said the authority and county commission funded the spoiled food collection July 2-6. Residents were permitted to drop off any spoiled food at no charge at a collection point set up at the field. The authority had the spoilage hauled to the local landfill for disposal.
"It was Ed Hupp's (Wood County Emergency Management director) idea. He had been getting a lot of phone calls at the emergency operations center from people asking what they could do about their spoiled food," Reed said. "It did get a little smelly down there, so we switched to smaller rolloffs. We were making more trips to the landfill, but it kept it more tolerable." Reed said lime was continually sprinkled on the ground to keep contamination down.
The estimated cost for the service was $3,559. The Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursed some of the costs.
"People were very cooperative, no one tried to dump anything other than spoiled food. A lot of the people who came by were ones who had spoiled food from Monday and they weren't expecting trash service for a week or so," Reed said.
"A key to the success of getting rid of the spoiled food, which could have turned into a very big problem, was that (Parkersburg) Mayor Newell was able to persuade the landfill to stay open over the July 4 holiday. That meant all the haulers were on their regular routine schedule so people had the option of using their regular trash service or coming to our dropoff," Reed said. "I think it was a good service. We certainly had a lot of appreciative people. Some people asked us to take the entire trash can. We ended up keeping the cans, recycling them by giving them to the trash haulers so if someone called in and needed a can, they had some available," Reed said.
Looking back, Reed said "this was a service provided through the SWA that I would have never thought of until it was brought to our attention. It was very much needed, and something we would consider offering in the future. It went smoothly, I think it was well-appreciated. It will be included in the county emergency operations plan under the post-disaster cleanup activities for the future," Reed said.