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County applies for used oil grant for clean boating, motorcycle programs

POSTED January 24, 2014 10:10 p.m.

In an effort to promote a healthy environment, the County Department of Environmental Resources is seeking a grant to be used in implementing its Clean Boating Outreach Program – a program providing education to boaters on the importance of keeping oil out of county waterways.

As part of its three-year used oil spending plan, CalRecycle opted to allocate $7 million for the Used Oil Competitive Grant Program for the first cycle of Fiscal Year 2013-14. If approved for the funds, the County Department of Environmental Resources would not actually be awarded the grant money until 2014-15 and the following year.

The environmental resources department hopes to use the grant money to fund the clean boating outreach program to be held at Woodward and Modesto Reservoir Regional Parks each weekend between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends.

The program will include education of boaters on oil contamination of waterways from boats, the proper use and disposal of oil absorbent bilge pads, implementing a bilge pad exchange program, and purchasing collection containers for the disposal of oily used bilge pads.

Should the program receive adequate funding, the California Coastal Commission will provide training for interns and several resources to utilize throughout the program. Each boater within the program will receive a free bilge pad and a guide to proper disposal, alongside a boating safety kit.

In addition to the program, the environmental resources department will work alongside the City of Modesto to implement the Riders Recycle Program – a program aimed toward educating motorcycle owners on used oil.

While “do it yourself” oil changes make up an estimated 17 percent of households in California, owners of motorcycles change their own oil more frequently than automobile owners. A recent study conducted by the Riders Recycle Project of Sacramento found that 65 percent of motorcycle owners say they always change their own oil on their motorcycles. The proposed two-year outreach program would provide person-to-person outreach at motorcycle events and venues, displays in motorcycle related businesses and postcard mailings to motorcycle owners on proper used oil disposal.

Both programs, contingent on the CalRecycle funding, are part of the County’s efforts to reduce, recycle and reuse solid waste to better preserve landfill capacities while protecting public health, safety and the environment.

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