counties buy machine to destroy hazardous materials
Huh Post-Tribune staff writer
County's bomb squad can now obliterate hazardous items including explosives with
a new vessel.
Destruction Unit landed in Porter County's lap about four months ago after the
county, with funding assistance from LaPorte and Lake counties pitched in for
the $28,000 purchase.
were eager to flaunt the mobile machine Tuesday with a demonstration of how the
vessel operated. It's the first locally owned hazardous incinerator in Northwest
Indiana, said Therese Davis, executive director of the Recycling and Waste
Reduction district of Porter County.
to the noise of a popcorn maker, the machine made loud pops while it burned
hundreds of bullets inside for about 10 minutes at extremely high temperatures.
vessel can destroy up to 2,000 bullets in one burn, said Lt. Chris Eckert.
it usually took eight hours to burn the dangerous materials, Eckert said.
the new thermal destruction vessel burns "several hundred pounds of materials in
two hours with minimal residue," he said.
process is now much more efficient. It takes fewer workers and less time to
destroy the dangerous materials such as ammunition, explosive compounds,
narcotics and prescription drugs.
materials come from a variety of sources, including law enforcement
investigations, police departments that clean out outdated weapons and
counties had to wait for a mobile collection unit to come to the area for
during the wait, the sheriff's department stored the dangerous products, which
posed a safety issue, Eckert said.
Michigan Districts Household Hazardous Waste Program, which comprises Lake,
LaPorte and Porter counties is one of the key supporters. Lake County paid for
52 percent, Porter County paid for 20 percent and LaPorte County paid for 28
percent of the funding, said Tom Buford, the districts' household hazardous
waste coordinator. While the three counties own the unit, it's housed in Porter
County because it's the only county with a bomb squad.