LEFT WITH CHEMICAL JUNK: Lennox Head’s Andrew McQuade is not happy he and others were turned away from a free chemical clean-out run by Ballina Shire Council last weekend.
LEFT WITH CHEMICAL JUNK: Lennox Head’s Andrew McQuade is not happy he and others were turned away from a free chemical clean-out run by Ballina Shire Council last weekend. Graham Broadhead

Council had to shut the gate on chemical waste dumpers

LAST Saturday's free chemical clean-out could not have come at a better time for Andrew McQuade as he prepares to move from his Lennox Head house.

But he didn't expect to bring all the chemical waste he wanted to dump back home.

"It's a joke," he said.

"I was trying to do the right thing."

He was one of several Ballina Shire residents who were turned away from the free Household Chemical CleanOut run by the NSW Environment Protection Authority and hosted by Ballina Shire Council.

He turned up at noon for the event advertised to be held from 9am to 3.30pm, and he said there were another six vehicles lined up behind him when he arrived at the Ballina Waste Management Centre.

Mr McQuade had six gas cylinders, a couple of old batteries from his boat and caravan, tins of paint that he kept for those just-in-case jobs and an old fire extinguisher.

The charge for dumping gas bottles alone at Ballina's tip is $15, so Mr McQuade estimates the cost to dump his chemical waste could reach $100.

He'll have to fork out that money now because he doesn't want to take the junk with him to his new home in Tweed Heads.

Council's civil services manager, John Truman, said the response to last Saturday's clean-out was "overwhelming", with an estimated 400 visits compared to the previous 60-70.

Mr Truman said the response was "beyond the haulage

capacity".

He said council apologised for the inconvenience to residents who were turned away, but "we are pleased there was such a demand for the service."

"We are currently looking into some options to see if council can provide a similar chemical clean-out program to assist those who were not able to receive the service last Saturday," he said.

Byron clean-up

BYRON Shire Council is hosting a free Household Chemical CleanOut at the Byron Regional Sport and Cultural Complex from 9am to 3.30pm on January 24.

Phone the Environment Line on 131 555 for more information.