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Countywide : Official Urges Educating Public on Toxic Wastes

Industry must educate the public about the need for local hazardous-waste treatment facilities, the head of Orange County’s director of environmental health said Friday.

Waste treatment plants in the area “will not mean doom and gloom” for local communities, Robert Merryman said at a daylong seminar on hazardous-waste management held at the Anaheim Hilton. Local treatment sites would reduce the amount of hazardous waste transported through local communities, he added.

Merryman said the public now automatically opposes local treatment sites even though such centers would be in the county’s best interest. “In Orange County . . . we need to have a couple of treatment facilities,” he said. “Which community would come forward and say, ‘We’ll take one?’ I think we all know that the answer is no one.

“I would ask . . . the industry to basically start educating the people so people can be . . . a little more calm about issues, because right now we’re really heading down the wrong road,” he said.

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Merryman said Orange County now has about 5,000 firms that create hazardous wastes.

The seminar was sponsored by the Orange County Chamber of Commerce and titled “Hazardous Waste Management: Local Solutions to Local Problems.” About 200 representatives from county industries and consulting firms attended.


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