Oil collection program aids farmers, improves environment

From Staff Reports

   NASHVILLE -- Tennessee farmers who have stockpiled used motor oil now have an option to safely dispose of it free of charge thanks to the new Tennessee Agricultural Waste Oil Collection and Recycling Development Program.
   Beginning July 1, farmers can call the Used Oil Hotline at 1-800-287-9013 to find out about special collections, recycling locations or to arrange an on-farm pickup of waste motor oil.
   The program is a cooperative effort between the Tennessee Departments of Agriculture and Environment and Conservation. The goal of the new program is to collect 70,000 pounds of waste oil from Tennessee farmers and to inform them of environmentally sound options for disposal while reducing the potential ground or surface water contamination.
   The program is expected to run through June 2004. The idea, says TDA coordinator Ken Nafe, is to help farmers who have a large quantity of waste oil to safely dispose of it and then to begin using one of the more than 800 collection sites across the state available to do-it-yourselfers.
   "This is a one-time program designed to collect quantities of motor oil generated from farming activities that are too large for TDEC's do-it-yourself collection program," said Nafe. "Once we've made arrangements to dispose of stockpiled oil, then farmers will be instructed to begin using the do-it-yourself collection program on a regular basis."
   Do-it-yourselfers are individuals who generate fewer than 25 gallons of used oil monthly and less than 300 gallons annually. Businesses and farmers who generate more than 300 gallons annually are required to dispose of their waste oil using a certified used oil transporter.
   Once a farmer calls the hotline, a TDEC representative will help evaluate the farmer's situation and provide information on the most convenient method of disposal. If an on-farm collection is the best solution, the farmer will be asked to provide a name and phone number so that a TDA representative can make arrangements for the pickup. On-farm collections will be made available only once to farmers needing to dispose of their stockpiled oil.
   "We're proud to be partners in assisting farmers in the stewardship of our land and water resources," said Ron Graham, director of TDEC's Division of Community Assistance. "Farmers should benefit from both the service to collect waste oil onsite for the next two years and the information on area collection sites that can be used afterwards."
   The Tennessee Agricultural Waste Oil Collection and Recycling Development Program is funded through the Used Oil Collection Fund and TDA's federally funded nonpoint source pollution program. For more information, call the Used Oil Hotline at 1-800-287-9013, visit www.tdec.net/dca/oil.htm for a list of TDEC collections centers, or contact TDA at (615) 837-5523.