Spokane County, City of Spokane release study on options for managing solid waste disposal

Marlene Feist, 509.625.6505

Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 2:13 p.m.

Elected officials from throughout Spokane County were briefed today on a new study on solid waste transfer and disposal options that was completed by the consulting firm HDR. The study presented a number of different options and the costs associated with each option.

Earlier this year, Spokane County and the City of Spokane Valley requested a study to evaluate various options and their costs. “The study demonstrates we have a great opportunity to collaborate for the good of the community,” County Commissioner Al French said. The $160,000 study was paid for by the Spokane Regional Solid Waste System, Spokane County, and the City of Spokane Valley. The executive summary and the full study are attached.

The interlocal agreement that formed the Regional Solid Waste System expires in 2014. Bonds sold to build the Spokane Waste-to-Energy facility and the Valley and North County transfer stations have been paid off. Discussions have been under way since 2011 to consider how solid waste disposal should be handled going forward.

Under all options considered by the study, the County would take over the state requirements of operating a solid waste system, including maintaining a County-wide solid waste management plan, offering recycling and disposal of household hazardous wastes, and providing waste reduction and recycling education.

The City and the County continue to make strides in evaluating opportunities for collaboration. They established a joint task force in 2012 that meets regularly to discuss opportunities that will control costs and provide better service to citizens, regardless of where they live in the County. The goal is to take a business approach to evaluating opportunities, considering what is needed to operate a service efficiently and effectively for the benefit of Spokane area citizens.