City's Waste to Energy Facility receives highest safety rating

WTE is first municipal facility in Washington receive designation

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

Sunday, March 1, 2015 at 12:15 p.m.

The City of Spokane’s Waste to Energy Facility has become the first facility operated by a municipality in Washington state to receive the highest worker safety and health designation available. The state Department of Labor & Industries announced late last week that the City’s facility has earned the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) STAR designation.

“Protecting the health and safety of our employees is a paramount concern. This designation represents our organizational commitment to safety,“ says Mayor David Condon.

The City took over the operations of the Waste to Energy facility in November, following 23 years of operation by Wheelabrator Technologies Inc. Wheelabrator, which was under contract with the City, established a strong safety culture at the facility. The facility had no injuries in the last three years. The City has continued that tradition and, working with the employees at the facility, committed to maintaining a strong safety culture into the future.

The VPP Star designation requires clear safety policies, procedures, and goals; meaningful ways for employees to participate in safety and health programs, formal reporting and accident investigation procedures, self-inspections, regular training, and accountability systems, among other things.

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.