Stumps, Roots & Branches: Collaboration Will Convert Debris to Electricity

Free storm debris disposal also extended to Dec. 6

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

Wednesday, November 25, 2015 at 4 p.m.

The City of Spokane is announcing a new partnership with Avista Utilities, Cannon Hill Industries, and Spokane County to convert the stumps, roots, and branches from the Nov. 17 wind storm into fuel for Avista’s biomass electric-generation facility in Kettle Falls.

“We want to thank our partners for helping us come up with a cost-effective way to recycle the vast amounts of tree debris that’s being collected,” says Mayor David Condon. “It’s only appropriate that the destruction that caused mass power outages will now be used to generate electricity for our region.”

“Our Kettle Falls generation facility has provided the region with clean, renewable energy for over 30 years, and we are pleased to partner with the City of Spokane, Spokane County and Cannon Hill Industries to help convert the debris from the devastating wind storm into energy,” said Jason Thackston, Avista senior vice president of energy resources.

Cannon Hill Industries will use its large equipment to remove any dirt and rocks and grind the wood and transport it to the biomass facility, where it will be processed and turned into electricity. Wood that can be salvaged for logging or firewood will be separated from the stumps, roots, and branches and handled independently.

Additionally, the City will extend free tree and yard waste storm debris disposal for another week, through Sunday, Dec. 6, to give citizens more time to clean up. The Spokane County Regional Solid Waste System is joining the effort at its North County Transfer Station, extending its free tree and yard waste storm debris disposal through Dec. 6 and sending its debris to the biomass facility.

The City has recognized that extra time is needed for citizens to remove the large stumps and roots from trees that uprooted during the storm.

Residents who need to clear storm debris from private property are encouraged to refer to the list of licensed arborists at Safety should be a priority; carefully inspect for downed power lines and gas leaks before doing any work.

For removal of large stumps, which can weigh hundreds of pounds to a ton or more, citizens also should consider contacting logging, demolition, and excavation companies. Residents who use commercial services to remove trees and stumps shouldn’t pay for disposal if their contractors are taking advantage of free disposal services.

In the first seven days of the free service, the City logged about 4,400 visits to the free disposal sites with about 1,738 tons of storm debris collected. That number doesn’t include all of the material removed by City crews; those crews also are using an additional Water Department site for some of their work.

The free storm debris disposal is available at the City’s Waste to Energy Facility, 2900 S Geiger Blvd., and the Northside Landfill, 5502 W. Nine Mile Falls Road, and at the County’s North County Transfer Station, 21123 N. Elk-Chattaroy Road. The landfill is open from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., the Waste to Energy Facility is open from 7:30 to 5 p.m., and the Transfer Station is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. These facilities will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 26.

For smaller yard waste material in residential neighborhoods, the City has extended its curbside yard waste collection program for two additional weeks through Dec. 18. Customers can place yard debris from the storm in their green yard waste carts. Branches must be smaller than 3 inches in diameter. Curbside yard waste collection is a voluntary, subscription service.

Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, garbage pickup and curbside recycling will be a day late this week for residents whose garbage is normally picked up on Thursday and Friday.  Because of the holiday, crews will do Thursday rounds on Friday, Nov. 27, and Friday rounds on Saturday, Nov. 28.

Please note that the free disposal services are for clean green tree and yard waste, not shingles or other building materials.