published Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Cumberland County, Tenn., gets used motor oil grant


Tennessee cities and counties awarded grants for motor oil collection include:

• Carroll County, $8,500

• Bean Station, $5,300

• Jellico, $13,800

• Newport, $5,300

• Rockwood, $13,800

• Crockett County, $2,000

• DeKalb County, $9,200

• Dickson County, $8,600

• Grainger County, $45,600

• Hardeman County, $35,100

• Henderson County, $9,200

• Henry County, $12,200

• Jackson County, $9,200

• Jefferson County, $2,500

• Knox County, $4,000

• Marshall County, $15,800

• McNairy County, $16,300

• Morgan County, $15,300

• Obion County, $9,000

• Perry County, $6,600

• Roane County, $9,200

• Scott County, $19,100

• Sevier (County) Solid Waste Inc., $9,200

• Vonore, $13,800

• Union County Solid Waste Authority, $23,900

• Washington County, $8,500

Source: Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation

A $113,300 state grant will give Cumberland County, Tenn.'s used motor oil collection efforts a generous boost with new equipment at all the collection centers in the county.

"I've got 15 centers, and this will actually bring all of them up to state standards," said Mike Harvel, the county's recycling manager. "We're putting a pad, canopy and new oil collection tank at each one of the centers."

Harvel said the grant also will fund two furnaces that use old motor oil to produce heat for the recycling center buildings, cutting down on utility costs.

Cumberland County got the lion's share of $444,300 in grants doled out to 27 Tennessee cities and counties for improvements and new equipment.

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation officials say that Tennessee residents who change their own motor oil generate more than 1 million gallons of used oil each year, which can pollute soil and water and interfere with the operation of sewer systems when the old oil isn't properly disposed of.

Tennessee's Solid Waste Management Act requires counties to have at least one place in the county where used oil can be properly processed for disposal. A 2-cent deposit on every quart of oil purchased in Tennessee funds the grant program.

"Educating citizens on the proper disposal of used motor oil can have a direct impact on the water quality of Tennessee's lakes, streams and groundwater," TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau said.

Harvel said Cumberland County now sells its used oil to vendors, collecting about $16,000 in 2013.

"We collected last year about 130 tons of used oil," he said.

Now some of that oil will be used as fuel to heat three recycling buildings, Harvel said.

The grant application was for three used motor oil burning furnaces that generate 325,000 BTUs each, burning between 20 and 25 gallons of used oil each a day.

The furnaces will be used about three months a year, so the rest of the motor oil collected can still be sold to other vendors, he said.

Harvel said the county's recycling facilities were recently expanded and the new equipment will help with the growing service.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at or 423-757-6569.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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