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Auto Mechanic Wants Customers To Take Old Oil With Them

May 4, 1986

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) _ An auto mechanic concerned about the rising cost of waste oil disposal says he plans to charge people more for an oil change if they don’t take the old oil with them.

″I can’t absorb these costs,″ said Gary Westoby of Domestic Auto. ″They have to be passed on to the consumer. I’m either going to have to charge $15 for hazardous waste disposal or the customers can provide me with a container and they can have the old oil back and do watever they want to.″

In the past, used motor oil was burned as heating fuel or spread on gravel roads to control dust. But the Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Environmental Conservation banned road oiling last year after some road oil was found to contain toxic PCBs.

If the oil is instead dumped in drains or landfills, it can contaminate ground water. New regulations, which took effect in December, require tests on all waste oil. Any found to be contaminated must be shipped out of state for disposal.

Garage owners must pay $175 to have the waste oil tested, and disposal will cost from 30 cents to $7 a gallon, depending on the degree of contamination. In the past, oil was hauled away for abbout 25 cents a gallon and did not have to be tested.

Jim Sweeney, the city’s hazardous waste coordinator, said many garage owners are just now finding out about the months-old rules because their storage tanks are getting full.

Westoby, for example, said he usually waits until he accumulates 500 gallons of waste oil before getting rid of it.

Up to five gallons of used motor oil can be disposed of for free at the city’s recycling center, which is intended for ″backyard mechanics,″ not service stations, Sweeney said.

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