City of Spokane takes over operations at Waste to Energy Facility

Change coincides with new interlocal agreement for solid waste

Marlene Feist, Utilities Communications Manager, (509) 625-6505

Monday, November 17, 2014 at 2:50 p.m.

Starting today, the City of Spokane has taken over operations of the Waste to Energy facility, following 23 years of operation by a private-sector company under contract with the City. The City also operates the customer disposal site at the facility.

“We have continued to pursue ways to keep services affordable and provide greater value for our citizens,” says Mayor David Condon. “This change allows us to have greater control over costs for the future and ongoing flexibility as the solid waste management system in our region evolves.”

City officials, including Council President Ben Stuckart and Council Member Mike Fagan, and staff have worked for much of the last year on the operational transition at the Waste to Energy Facility, which processes about 800 tons of municipal solid waste every day while generating clean electricity to power homes and businesses. 

The change coincides with the start of a new interlocal agreement, which creates the new Spokane County Regional Solid Waste System. Under the new system, Spokane County will lead solid waste planning, education, and outreach for the Spokane area, as well as own and operate the Valley and North County transfer stations.

Although the changes are significant, City of Spokane citizens and businesses, for the most part, won’t notice many differences. Customers can continue to use all three disposal sites as they always have. Prices remain the same, and the City’s full suite of solid waste collection and disposal services continues. Those services include single-stream recycling, household hazardous waste drop off, and clean green services, among others.

As the City marks this milestone, City officials also want to thank Wheelabrator Technologies for their service to the region.

“Wheelabrator has provided excellent service to the Spokane region for more than two decades,” says Mayor Condon. “We thank them for their commitment to our community.”

“Wheelabrator served the Spokane area with a demonstrated commitment to environmental compliance and operational excellence for more than two decades,” said William Roberts, vice president of operations for Wheelabrator. “We applaud the work of our employees for their dedication to the safe, clean operation of the energy from waste facility since 1991, converting 800 tons of post-recycled residential and business waste into enough renewable energy for the needs of 23,000 homes daily. We wish to thank our customers for their dedication and we look forward to continuing our longstanding relationship with the City of Spokane as we provide our operational and technical expertise during this transition.”

Since its start up in 1991, the Waste to Energy facility has processed more than 6.5 million tons of municipal solid waste and generated more than 3.2 million megawatts of power. The process reduces the solid waste 90 percent by volume and 70 percent by weight. The facility was built as part of an overall solution to handle the community’s solid waste, replacing non-compliant, leaking landfills.