BATAVIA, OH (Dec. 17, 2019) — When the holidays are over, make sure you treecycle! The act of recycling a live Christmas tree is a leading reason many experts agree they are more environmentally friendly than their plastic counterparts.
Treecycling is the act of recycling your cut Christmas tree, so that it can be used in other capacities. The trees can get a second life after they are chipped (used for mulch and hiking trails), become fish or wildlife habitat, or are utilized for lake and river shoreline stabilization.
Locally, many communities and the Clermont County Park District are offering opportunities for you to treecycle. But before you take your tree to a collection site or haul it to the curb for pick-up, please be sure to remove all lights, tinsel and decorations.
Among Clermont County recycling opportunities:
Recycling has been in the media a lot lately due to recently placed import restrictions in place from China, the destination of a lot of the country’s recyclable material. The “China Sword” as it’s coined, is a series of bans restricting imports of mixed plastics and paper and requiring unattainably low levels of contamination.
As a result, some municipalities have been forced to landfill or even incinerate their recyclables, which is horrifying to those of us who have taken the care to dutifully rinse out containers and separate them from our trash, sometimes even making special trips to drop-off locations to recycle our waste.
Luckily, residents of Clermont County need not worry that their recyclables are being handled improperly.
The material recovery facility that handles all the recyclables in the area (regardless of your waste hauler) is operated by Rumpke, whose recycling programs do not rely on foreign markets such as China. Through longstanding partnerships with regional manufacturers, Rumpke distributes 98 percent of its collected recyclables to domestic markets and 80 percent to markets in the Midwest.
In short, your recyclables are getting recycled. However, the state of recycling is still threatened by the large amount of contamination that is making it into the recycling bin.
It’s true that Rumpke makes money off of recyclables, but those recyclables have to be collected, sorted, and baled to be a marketable commodity, and there’s a cost associated with those processes. Adding items to the recycling bin that you think should be recycled won’t actually influence that material to be recycled in the future, it just increases the cost of recycling and makes municipalities question the economics of maintaining the program. If the amount of non-recyclable materials (i.e. garbage) being placed in the bin keeps increasing, the economics of recycling stop making cents?
Help us maintain the sustainability of recycling by ensuring only the proper items are going in your bin. Enjoy these five tips for recycling properly and visit https://oeq.net/recycling/ for a list of acceptable items and a map of our public recycling drop-off locations.
Submitted by Hannah Lubbers, Director of Clermont County Office of Environmental Quality (OEQ) and Adams-Clermont Solid Waste District
BATAVIA, Ohio (June 7, 2019) – Clermont County-area volunteers are needed to help with the region’s portion of the 3,000-mile Ohio River Sweep litter cleanup, 9 a.m.-noon, June 15.
Local volunteers, please report to:
Wear clothes that can get dirty and closed-toe shoes. Organizers will provide trash bags and a limited number of gloves. Each volunteer will receive a free T-shirt.
The Ohio River Sweep extends the entire length of the Ohio River and many of its tributaries. This important regional event addresses a global problem: litter in our waterways. It connects people to the Ohio River and encourages stewardship of this important resource.
“Rivers and streams provide 65 percent of our nation’s drinking water and 88 percent of Cincinnati’s drinking water,” said Penny Greenler, Clermont Country River Sweep coordinator. “By participating in the River Sweep cleanup effort with others in your community, you can help make your Ohio River a safer, healthier place for wildlife and people.”
Thousands of volunteers from Pittsburgh, Pa., to Cairo, Ill., will clean up the 3,000 miles of Ohio River shoreline. The cleanup involves more than 100 locations in six states. It’s coordinated by the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) and state environmental agencies. See www.ohioriversweep.org for more information.
BATAVIA, Ohio (May 31, 2019) — The Clermont County Soil & Water District (SWCD), the Clermont Office of Environmental Quality (OEQ), and the U.S. EPA Office of Research and Development were awarded the top government stormwater project of the year at the 2019 Ohio Stormwater Conference held in Sharonville on May 8-10.
The project, funded by a USDA Conservation Innovation Grant, involved the installation of an urban stormwater detention basin on a farm in Jackson Township in Clermont County in 2015. Its purpose was to remove nutrients from soil runoff. The nutrients are one of the causes of harmful algae blooms in Harsha Lake.
Results have shown that 31% of total nitrogen and 31% of total phosphorus have been removed from the runoff.
“The need to address nutrient runoff is important because it degrades water quality and contributes to algae blooms that are occurring around the world,” said Jake Hahn, technician with SWCD. “The soils that we have in our county are very unique to Ohio and an ‘outside the box’ approach was needed because current management practices do not always apply in our area.”
The partnership that made this project successful, coined the East Fork Water Quality Cooperative, includes many county, state and federal agencies, landowners, and the private industry.
“This project speaks to the great success of everyone working together for a viable solution,” said Hannah Lubbers, Director of OEQ.
BATAVIA, Ohio — The Adams Clermont Solid Waste District will hold discounted Tire Collection Days on May 15 and May 18 with help from a grant from the Ohio EPA. There is no charge for the first 10 tires per household; after that customers will be charged $2 per tire. The district will accept passenger, truck, and tractor tires both on and off the rim. Methods of payment include cash or credit card.
Tire Collection Day will be held in Adams County from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on May 15 at the Adams Waste & Recycling Facility (AWAR), 95 Trefz Road, West Union, OH 45693. In Clermont County, Tire Collection Day will be from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 18 at the Jackson Township Lot, 3341 U.S. Hwy 50, Williamsburg, OH 45176.
The district will not collect tires from junk yards, trucking, or other companies, but can assist businesses in finding recycling options for proper tire management. Call 513.732.7894 for more details.
Scrap tires lying around a property are aesthetically unpleasing and can pose a health and safety risk by acting as breeding grounds for mosquitoes and vermin. If left in the environment for long periods of time, abandoned tires can leach toxic chemicals, such as zinc, heavy metals, vulcanization and rubber chemicals into ground and surface waters. Municipal solid waste landfills won’t collect tires on trash routes and can’t accept them at their landfills. Dumping scrap tires over the hillside or on the side of the road is illegal and harmful to the environment.
If orphan tires have been dumped on your property, the Solid Waste District can have these tires removed and properly recycled. If you have been the victim of illegal dumping, please call 513.732.7745 to make clean-up arrangements.
BATAVIA, Ohio (Feb. 26, 2019) – Hannah Lubbers, the new director of the Clermont County Office of Environmental Quality (OEQ) and the Adams-Clermont Solid Waste District, came by her love of the outdoors naturally.
Growing up in the City of Hamilton, she and her family enjoyed hiking and canoeing, at Hueston Woods and the Whitewater River in Indiana.
Lubbers was hired by Paul Braasch, the recently retired director of both offices, almost 11 years ago, as a program manager for the OEQ. She had just completed her Masters in biology at the University of Cincinnati. Her undergrad degree at UC was in environmental studies.
“I started as a chemistry major in college,” she said. “I took a class in environmental policy and I got interested in environmental studies – where policy and science intersect.”
That was perfect for her new job, where she specialized in understanding the watershed of the East Fork of the Little Miami River, and studying best management practices (BMPs) that would help farmers to decrease nutrient runoff.
The Office of Environmental Quality is one of the members of the East Fork Watershed Cooperative, an organization comprised of federal, state and county stakeholders that has conducted extensive research on the watershed to improve water quality.
When she began her work, Lubbers said, “We were more focused on wastewater effluent in streams. But local water quality data showed that runoff from agriculture also significantly impacted water quality.”
Partners in the East Fork Watershed Cooperative, including the USDA’s National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and the Clermont County Soil & Water Conservation District, have been crucial to enlisting county farmers to use methods, such as planting cover crops and installing biological treatment systems, that lessen nutrient runoff.
And the unique nature of the cooperative has allowed it to pull in state and federal funding, Lubbers said. More than $3 million in grants to Clermont and Brown counties is funding cover crops and other BMPs, enough for 12,000 acres. In 2018, the NRCS allocated an additional $600,000 to the area to fund various agriculture projects, all in the service of improving the quality of water in the watershed.
Lubbers wears another hat as director of the Adams-Clermont Solid Waste District. “My primary goal is to ensure the sustainability of recycling,” she said. In 2018, the Solid Waste District helped Batavia, Ohio and Williamsburg townships secure curbside recycling via waste franchising to over 8,000 households.
“I want to make sure that all county residents maintain access to recycling,” she said. Currently, residents of Union Township, the largest township in Clermont County, have limited curbside recycling opportunities. There are also no drop-off sites in Union Township; several drop-off sites throughout the county have been closed because of illegal dumping.
“One of our goals is to make sure that recycling is available at apartment complexes,” Lubber said. Once more townships adopt curbside recycling, and more apartments have recycling bins, there won’t be as great a need for the drop-off sites, she said.
Lubbers, who lives in Clermont County, loves its natural beauty. She loves and appreciates the rural nature of much of the county. And she wants to make sure that is preserved while the county continues to grow in jobs and population.
Litter – which mars so many of the roadways in the county — is one thing that gets to her. In 2018, an astounding 88 tons of litter was removed from rivers and streams in the county, much of it during the annual Spring Litter Clean-Up.
“There’s that phrase, ‘Think globally, act locally,’” Lubbers says “NOT littering, and picking up litter when you see it, is one way of acting locally. It doesn’t have to be your garbage – pick it up!”
BATAVIA, Ohio (Jan. 25, 2018) – Paul Braasch, a champion for the environment in Clermont County and throughout Ohio, is retiring after 25 years at Clermont County, as director of the Adams-Clermont Solid Waste District and the county’s Office of Environmental Quality.
Braasch has had an enormous impact on Clermont County as an advocate for recycling, water quality, and environmental stewardship. His success, he says, lies in his ability to bring people to the table and work together.
Braasch, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in agriculture from the University of Kentucky, developed expertise in recycling when he worked in the 1980s at Adams Brown Recycling in Georgetown, now the largest non-profit recycler in the State of Ohio. Later, he joined SCS Engineers, an environmental consulting firm, which wrote solid waste plans for 19 counties throughout Ohio as required by the Legislature.
“I wrote the Adams-Clermont Solid Waste Plan and then I was recruited to come to Clermont County,” he said. He began his career at the county in 1993.
Braasch’s interest in the environment stemmed naturally from his interest in agriculture, he said. He paraphrases a John Muir quote, which emphasizes the connectivity of the environment: “When one tugs at a single string in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”
“It’s all connected,” Braasch said. “I’ve found it very fulfilling to be involved in making things better, and do what little I could to conserve our resources. I was brought up by a Dutch German family where conservation of every penny was demanded!”
Braasch is proud of the “unprecedented” level of research done on water quality in the East Fork watershed, under the auspices of the East Fork Watershed Cooperative. Clermont County took over the operation of a Procter & Gamble stream research facility in Miami Township, on the banks of the East Fork of the Little Miami River, and now leases it to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA conducts research of the watershed from this facility.
What was originally called the Scientific Advisory Committee has now evolved into a group involving the U.S. EPA, Ohio EPA, USGS, the Army Corps of Engineers, NOAA, several universities, as well as the Clermont County stakeholders such as the Soil & Water Conservation District.
“The level of science that’s been brought to the East Fork Little Miami watershed is unprecedented in the United States,” Braasch said. “We were way ahead of our time when we started looking at water quality on a watershed basis and now we’re probably way ahead of most of the country in understanding what drives water quality. We’re learning what we need to do to reduce nutrients and pollutants to our streams.”
He’s also proud of the level of recycling that is now done throughout the county. He brought drop-off recycling to the county years ago, but now curbside recycling is gaining popularity. Just in the last year, the Solid Waste District helped Batavia, Ohio and Williamsburg townships secure curbside recycling via waste franchising to over 8,000 households.
“More people are recycling because they know it’s the right thing to do,” he said. “Are we running out of space for landfills? No, it’s a big country. There’s plenty of places we could throw garbage. But it’s such a waste of our money and resources to throw it in there when we can reuse it. And it creates jobs.”
Sewers — underappreciated!
One underappreciated factor in the quality of water in the United States, Braasch said, is something most of us take for granted now: centralized sewer systems. “It used to be people had a pipe to the creek … or maybe a leachfield which evolved to an on-site system. It used to be that the Ohio River was the sewer system,” he said. “Having centralized sewers has been tremendous in improving water quality and our health. These guys who work for the Water Resources Department, putting in sewer pipes and maintaining them … It’s a dirty hard job and they don’t get enough appreciation.”
Braasch says Clermont County must continue to be vigilant in monitoring the CECOS International hazardous waste facility in Jackson Township, which stopped receiving waste in 1988 and closed in 1997. Clermont County monitors the site, along with the U.S. EPA and Ohio EPA. The hazardous waste site is upstream of Harsha Lake, which supplies some of the county’s water. Braasch was instrumental in negotiating an agreement between CECOS and the county, approved in 2012, that added groundwater monitoring wells at the site.
As he retires, Braasch looks forward, of course, to getting out more in nature – skiing, backpacking and more traveling. Several trips out West are on the itinerary, as well as some skiing in Banff, in the Canadian Rockies. He loves skiing.
“When you’re skiing, you don’t think about anything else but what you’re doing. If you don’t, you’re gonna get hurt. And so you’re focused and you forget about everything else around you. It’s soothing and relaxing.”
Hannah Lubbers, who has worked with Braasch for 10 years at the Solid Waste District and OEQ, will become director of both on Feb. 1.
BATAVIA, Ohio – The Adams-Clermont Solid Waste District will hold several tire collection days in August.
Tires eligible include rim, passenger, truck and tractor tires. The first 10 tires are free. After that, there will be a fee of $2 per tire. Cash or credit card will be accepted.
Tire Collection Days are funded by a grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. These grants are becoming more competitive and limited, said Hannah Lubbers of the Solid Waste District.
“Next year, the Ohio EPA will require a collection fee for all grant-funded tire days,” she said. “But we decided to implement the fee this year because some private companies were taking advantage of the collection days to subsidize their businesses. The grant funds are meant to clean up old nuisance piles for residents, not to subsidize tire-related businesses.”
The Solid Waste District can help businesses to find recycling options for proper tire management. Call 513.732.7894 for details.
Scrap tires lying around a property not only look bad, but they can pose a health and safety risk by acting as breeding grounds for mosquitoes and vermin. If left in the environment for long periods of time, abandoned tires can leach toxic chemicals, such as zinc, heavy metals, vulcanization and rubber chemicals into ground and surface waters.
Municipal solid waste landfills won’t collect tires on trash routes and can’t accept them at their landfills, Lubbers noted. Dumping scrap tires over the hillside or on the side of the road is illegal and harmful to the environment. “Many citizens are unaware that there are many free and legal options for residents of Adams and Clermont Counties to dispose of scrap tires,” she said.
If tires have been dumped on your property, the Solid Waste District can have them removed and properly recycled. If you have been the victim of illegal dumping, call 513.732.7745 to make clean-up arrangements.
For more information on Tire Collection Days, call 513.732.7745 or go to http://oeq.net/tiredays.
BATAVIA, Ohio – The recycling drop-offs at Shor Park and Bethel Save-A-Lot have been removed indefinitely due to illegal dumping and misuse of the site, according to the Clermont County Office of Environmental Quality, which manages the drop-offs. Residents can utilize any of the other drop-offs located throughout the county and found here: http://oeq.net/recycling.
Items that are not allowed include furniture, mattresses, grills, construction waste, televisions, and unrecyclable plastics (toys, etc.).
The closest remaining recycling drop-off to Shor Park is either the Salt Barn at 4015 Filager Road in Batavia or the Miami Township Fire Department South at 1154 US 50.
Residents of the Village of Bethel and Tate Township are encouraged to sign up for curbside recycling collection through their waste hauler. The closest remaining drop-off to Bethel Save-A-Lot is located at the East Fork State Park office at 3294 Elklick Road.
BATAVIA, Ohio (March 21, 2018) Clermont County Commissioners today honored Leah Decatur, a junior at Clermont Northeastern High School, for winning the 2018 Spring Litter Clean-Up T-shirt Design Contest.
Leah was given a certificate of appreciation from the commissioners, acknowledging her achievement and contribution to local education efforts to promote litter prevention. She was also awarded a $100 cash prize. CNE Principal T.J. Glassmeyer was there to accept the additional $100 cash prize awarded to the school’s art department.
Leah, who has a huge passion for art, thanked her mom, Annette Decatur, for urging her to enter the contest. Leah, who is hoping to be a physician’s assistant, said she wanted to get her neighborhood involved in the Spring Litter Clean-Up, which will be held April 21.
The T-shirt contest and Spring Litter Cleanup are sponsored locally by the Clermont County Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Duke Energy Foundation, and the Southern Ohio Association of Realtors (SOAR).
“We promise the weather will be better than today,” said Warren Walker, Government & Community Relations manager for Duke Energy. He mentioned that in 2017, more than 500 volunteers removed 400 tons of trash, including 10 miles along river banks and lakes. He said Duke was proud to be a sponsor of the event.
Greg Traynor, president of SOAR, said, “We have several realtors who participate in the event every year. After all, the majority of our realtors work and live in Clermont County, and it’s imperative that we have a clean and desirable place to live so our neighborhoods can grow and prosper.”
In addition to the grand prize, $25 cash prizes were awarded to students in each grade level, K-12. The grade level winners and their designs can be viewed at the event website: http://www.springlittercleanup.com/t-shirt-design-contest.html/.
The 2018 Spring Litter Clean-Up will be held at 9 a.m.-noon on Saturday, April 21, at various locations across Clermont County and the East Fork Little Miami River Watershed.
Online registration for the event is open: http://www.springlittercleanup.com/. For more information, contact the Clermont Soil & Water Conservation District at 513.732.7075 or the Valley View Foundation at 513.218.1098.
Contact: Becky McClatchey, Clermont SWCD at 513.732.7075