Top Jobs Page 1 of 1 Inmates help with disposal of worn-out appliances By Bill Krarner The Oklahoman Prisoners' work saves money EL RENO - David Griesel stared at a mountain of metal and just scratched his head. What was he to do with several dozen worn-out appliances that had been collected at public drop-off sites? Griesel is general manager for the Oklahoma Environmental Management Authority, a public trust that oversees operations at the Canadian County landfill near Union City. He admits he could have called an appliance repair man to remove environmentally unfriendly refrigerant. That bill to taxpayers would have been an estimated $4,000. Instead, Griesel called in a favor from staff at the state Department of Corrections. Eight inmates from the Union City Community Correctional Center were loaned to Griesel for cost-free removal of the refrigerant. One of the inmates, Shane Morgan, 35, is a licensed heating and air-conditioning technician with knowledge of safe removal of household refrigerants. Morgan learned the trade while serving part of his 22-year sentence for drug manufacturing and drug possession. He expects the inmates will remove refrigerant from nearly 200 refrigerators, freezers and air-conditioner units that might otherwise have been abandoned in rural areas. Refrigerants R-12 and R-22 are present in virtually all such household appliances, Morgan said. The use and manufacture of such coolants depletes the Earth's ozone layer. Federal guidelines have mandated phasing out the materials, although the refrigerant may still be recycled and reused. "The only way to recycle it is to recover it," Morgan said. "In order for it to be resold, it's got to go to a company that does the recycling." Griesel said the appliances will be scrapped for metal. He said the corrections staff at the center sought a goodwill gesture for being allowed to use a large landfill authority garage to repaint a corrections bus. David Fleck, construction maintenance administrator at the Union City center, said the 40-passenger bus will be used primarily to take inmates to prisoner public works program duties in Grady County. Fleck said the corrections department prohibits the use of former school buses unless they're painted a color other than yellow.