LOCKPORT – The Town of Lockport announced Monday that it is halting the collection of electronics for recycling, effective immediately, after a fire Sunday afternoon destroyed the shed behind Town Hall where the appliances were piled.
The town advised residents to take their electronic waste to the Niagara County Redemption Center, a private business located at 4022 Lake Ave., Wrights Corners.
Councilman Patricia Dufour said fire investigators have told her they believe the blaze, discovered about 4 p.m. Sunday, was triggered by corroded batteries in some discarded piece of electronics.
She said the fact that the blaze started in broad daylight within sight of the State Police station next to Town Hall is regarded as making arson unlikely.
Town Supervisor Marc R. Smith said troopers will be checking a surveillance video to make sure of that.
Dufour said, “Rapids (Fire Company) responded. They said they had a time putting the fire out because of all the plastics.”
She said the 10-by-16-foot wooden shed was last emptied Thursday, but by the weekend, it was full again.
“It wa filling up in 24 to 48 hours,” Smith said. It was not unusual to see the shed overflowing and piles of appliances stacked around it.
The town had started the drop-off center as a service to residents who wanted to recycle electronics, but televisions with picture tubes were the primary item dropped off as the flat-screen revolution in television has made them obsolete in the eyes of many consumers. State law now prohibits their disposal at curbside, and the massive supplies of tube TVs had discouraged some recycling handlers from taking them.
Last October, the town terminated its contract with Regional Computer Recycling and Recovery after that company announced it would no longer take tube TVs. The town hired Sunnking of Brockport, which agreed to pick up the TVs but declined to pay the town for them. RCRR had been paying the town 8.6 cents per pound of waste.
At a meeting April 23, Dufour suggested seeking bids for an estimated $45,000 metal pole barn into which people dropping off electronics could drive their vehicles. The 30-by-60-foot barn also was going to contain a 24-hour dog pound for animals collected by the town dog control officer, as well as general town storage. The shed that burned Sunday was to have been taken to Day Road Park for storage use there.
Dufour said the end of electronics recycling “certainly negates the urgency of the building.” She said the board will discuss whether the project is still needed at its next work session May 21.
The Niagara County Redemption Center is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays. Unlike the town’s shed, the business is staffed with attendants.
“We just didn’t have enough control,” Dufour said. “People were dropping off on nights and weekends.”