Stearns County Environmental Services offers ongoing information regarding household and agriculture recycling and helpful information regarding taking care of septic systems and a number of other challenges a homeowner may face. It is our goal to keep this page current, but if at any time you wish to verify this information you should contact Stearns County Environmental Services at 320-656-3613.


New Tri-County Solid Waste Management


The new building is located just west of Fleet Farm in Waite Park, at 3601 5th Street S, Waite Park, MN 56387. This agency accepts products year-round from residents in Stearns, Benton and Sherburne Counties. Their recent move into a new, and improved facility, makes dropping of unwanted materials very easy. They have a drive-through area to accommodate you during all kinds of weather, and accept many kinds of unwanted items.

They encourage reusing materials that come into the Waste Facility. These products may be items such paint, stain, adhesives, florescent bulbs, home improvement products as well as other items.
For more information about this service call the Household Hazardous Waste Facility at 320-255-6140 or 1-800-450-6140.

Watch for an open house scheduled later this spring.Additional Information can be accessed from the County Website at Environment/RecyclingandWasteDisposal 


Prescription Drop Off

Unused prescription drugs can be left at the new medication drop-off box located in the lobby of the Stearns County Law Enforcement Center, 807 Courthouse Sq., St. Cloud. Lobby hours are 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information contact the Sheriff's Office at 320-259-3700..

Munson Township

Environmental Information



Septic System Maintenance and Care

While your septic system is “out-of-sight” it really should not be “out-of-mind.” Here are a few important points to get the best performance and longest life out of your septic system.

• Tank Maintenance
• Septic tanks should be pumped every three years.
• Septic tanks must be pumped through the manhole cover.
• Chemical additives are not needed and may flow directly into the ground water.

• Soil Treatment System Maintenance
• Overloading – Space heavy water usage jobs, such as laundry, throughout the week to prevent overloading.
• Compaction – Nothing heavier than a riding lawnmower should be driven over any part of the septic system, including the drain field.
• Vegetative Cover – A good grass cover should be maintained over the soil treatment system.

• Septic System Performance
➢ Bathroom
• Install a new low-flow toilet.
• Repair leaky faucets and toilets immediately.
• Do not flush cigarette butts or unwanted prescriptions or over-the-counter medications down the toilet.
• Take short showers instead of tub baths.
• Install low-flow shower heads.

• Kitchen
• Wash only full loads in the dishwasher.
• Use minimal amounts of mild cleaners, as needed only.

• Laundry
• Select a front-loading washing machine that uses less water.
• Wash only full loads of laundry.
• Use the minimum amount of detergent or bleach necessary to do the job.
• Use liquid detergents.

• Basement and Utility Rooms
• Reroute the water softener recharge water outside the septic system. It does not need to be treated.
• Route roof drains and basement drainage tile water (sump pumps) outside of septic system and away from the drain field.

For other questions, contact Stearns County Environmental Services at (320) 656-3613 or 1-800-450-0852.

While your septic system is “out-of-sight” it really should not be “out-of-mind.” Here are a few important points to get the best performance and longest life out of your septic system.

• Tank Maintenance
• Septic tanks should be pumped every three years.
• Septic tanks must be pumped through the manhole cover.
• Chemical additives are not needed and may flow directly into the ground water.

• Soil Treatment System Maintenance
➢ Overloading – Space heavy water usage jobs, such as laundry, throughout the week to prevent overloading.
• Compaction – Nothing heavier than a riding lawnmower should be driven over any part of the septic system, including the drain field.
• Vegetative Cover – A good grass cover should be maintained over the soil treatment system.

• Septic System Performance
• Bathroom
• Install a new low-flow toilet.
• Repair leaky faucets and toilets immediately.
• Do not flush cigarette butts or unwanted prescriptions or over-the-counter medications down the toilet.
• Take short showers instead of tub baths.
• Install low-flow shower heads.

• Kitchen
• Wash only full loads in the dishwasher.
• Use minimal amounts of mild cleaners, as needed only.

• Laundry
• Select a front-loading washing machine that uses less water.
• Wash only full loads of laundry.
• Use the minimum amount of detergent or bleach necessary to do the job.
• Use liquid detergents.

• Basement and Utility Rooms
• Reroute the water softener recharge water outside the septic system. It does not need to be treated.
• Route roof drains and basement drainage tile water (sump pumps) outside of septic system and away from the drain field.

For other questions, contact Stearns County Environmental Services at (320) 656-3613 or 1-800-450-0852.

Mold in the Home

Sampling and testing your home for mold is not recommended for determining whether mold is present, or is a problem in your home.
The Center for Disease Control and the Minnesota Department of Health do not recommend sample testing for mold. Instead, use your eyes and your nose to find where the mold is and may be.
The quickest way to discover mold is to search for places where moisture collects and look for signs of rusting, staining of surfaces, or the mold itself. A musty odor is a good way to identify the presence of mold.
Not all people are sensitive to mold allergies. However, some people are very sensitive and suffer severe reactions. In any case, if you find mold in your home, it should be cleaned and the source of moisture repaired.


Fluorescent light bulbs - Did You Know?

Stearns County accepts compact fluorescent bulbs during their mobile Household hazardous waste collections, free of charge.
The downfall of these energy saving bulbs is that they contain mercury. Mercury is a bioaccumulative toxin, it can contaminate in our drinking water, fish, and wildlife. High levels of mercury can cause nervous system disorders, kidney problems, brain disorders, and other illness. Each year about 620 million fluorescent bulbs are discarded, but only 20 percent of bulbs are recycled properly. On average a single 4-foot fluorescent bulb broken will release 4.55 mg of mercury (this number can change depending on the amount mercury and temperature).
Fluorescent bulbs should be disposed of properly for public heath and safety. Also, to keep central Minnesota a more environmental friendly place. The Legislature has passed a law requiring all compact fluorescent light bulbs to be recycled beginning January 1, 2008.
So if the bulbs are not being recycled, large amount of the bulbs are being broken to fit in garbage cans. This is the wrong thing to do. Again fluorescent bulbs contain mercury, which is toxic heavy metal and can not be thrown in the trash. Each year the U.S. releases 2 to 4 tons of mercury from broken fluorescent bulbs.
Fluorescent and High intensity bulbs are more energy efficient and last for years compared to the incandescent bulbs. A fluorescent bulb uses 75% less energy than an incandescent light bulb. Globally, Australia has banned all incandescent light bulbs and switch to fluorescent light bulbs by 2010.


Easy to Make Rain Barrel

Materials

1. 55 gallon barrel
2. Louvered screen or atrium grate
3. 3/4" brass faucet
4. 3/4" hose adapter
5. Teflon tape or all-purpose caulk
6. Two runs of garden hose


Tools

1. Drill
2. 6" hole saw bit
3. 29/32 drill bit
4. ¾ pipe tap


Time

Minus cleaning time, about an hour.


Steps

1. Clean out your barrel (try not to use anything that will be harmful to your lawn, like bleach or ammonia).
2. Attach the 6" hole saw bit to the drill, and use it to cut a hole in the top of the barrel.
3. Using the 29/32 bit, drill a hole towards the top of the barrel for the overflow, and a second hole four to six inches from the bottom for the faucet. Spacing the faucet several inches from the bottom of the barrel will insure that you have enough room to attach your hose, and allow debris to sink to the bottom of the barrel without clogging the spigot.
4. Next, use your pipe tap to thread each of the 29/32 holes you just drilled. Simply place the tap on the edge of the hole, twist it inward, and then twist it back out.
5. Twist the hose adapter into the top (overflow) hole.
6. Wrap the faucet's threads with teflon tape, or cover it with caulk, and twist it into place on the bottom hole.
7. Insert the atrium grate / screen into the top 6" hole.
8. Create an elevated platform beneath your downspout (cinder blocks work well), and place the rain barrel on top.
9. Position the downspout so it drains into the top of your rain barrel. This step may require you to cut the current downspout and add an elbow joint to get the water to flow into your rain barrel.
10. Attach a hose onto the 3/4" hose adapter, and run it so the excess water doesn't erode the area about your house.
11. Patiently wait for the next rain, and enjoy your rain barrel!

DIYLife.com


Poison in the Home Safety Check List Kitchen

  • Remove household products from under the sinks, such as: cleaning products dishwashing compounds and drain cleaners.
  • All household products and medications out of reach and out of sight.
  • Child safety latches on all drawers or cabinets containing harmful products.
  • No toxic products stored with food or in food containers.


Bathroom

  • All medications, cosmetics, hair care products, toothpaste, mouthwash and cleaners out of reach.
  • Medicine storage area cleaned out regularly, old medicines thrown in the garbage.
  • All medications in original, child-resistant containers.


Laundry Area

  • All bleaches, soaps, detergents, fabric softeners, bluing agents and sprays out of reach.
  • All products in their original containers.


Garage/Basement

  • Insect sprays and lawn care products in locked area.
  • Paint, paint cleaners and other home care products in locked area.
  • Gasoline and car care products in secured or locked area.
  • All products in their original containers.


In Case of Poisoning

  • Have the Poison Help phone number available for use 1-800-222-1222.
  • Do older children know how to use the 911 system?
  • If an accident happens, can adults in the family be easily reached?


Free Mr. Yuk stickers are available at the following websites:
http://www.mryuk1.com - http://www.pested.psu.edu/aboutus/stickers.shtml