Jo Secrest, left, accepts the award for environmental stewardship from Michelle “Misha” Bussemey, right, of the San Marcos River Foundation.
At a ceremony this month, Jo Secrest, Public Services Program Coordinator for the City of San Marcos, was given the annual “Friend of the River ” award by the San Marcos River Foundation (SMRF).
Secrest was recognized for her work coordinating and promoting the Household Hazardous Waste Collections (HHWCs) for San Marcos and Hays County residents.
“This is a passion for me, and I cannot think of an award that I could be more proud to receive,” said Secrest, who is a nine-year veteran of the city staff. Secrest also coordinates the city’s solid waste and recycling contracts, drainage utility fees, and provides clerical assistance to the airport, in addition to her work with the HHWC events.
About a decade ago, the city established the HHWC program as an answer to the need for citizens to properly dispose of hazardous waste. The program is a free drive-through event that safely disposes of hazardous chemicals and keeps them out of the San Marcos River environs.
Four collections in 2009 resulted in 1,023 citizens bringing in 84,250 tons of hazardous waste and diverted their disposal from landfills.
The City of San Marcos includes hazardous waste disposal in its budget. The city also has received grant money to offset the cost for the inclusion of surrounding communities. Recently, the city received a $25,920 grant to open the HHWC two days per week. That program is slated to begin later this year.
Signaling the program’s and Secrest’s success, the city’s public services office reports that it receives four phone calls per day asking when the next HHWC event is scheduled.
Secrest shows that you’ve got to tote a few buckets when you are organizing the quarterly Household Hazardous Waste Collections for San Marcos and Hays County.