David Condon

A transition for Spokane’s award-winning solid waste management

David Condon, Mayor, No Phone Number Available

Monday, November 17, 2014 at 4 p.m.

Today marks a significant milestone in managing solid waste disposal in our community. The City of Spokane has taken over operations of the Waste to Energy (WTE) facility, following nearly 25 years of operation by a private-sector company under contract with the City.

Spokane's Waste to Energy Facility is part of our community's overall comprehensive solid waste system that encourages recycling and waste reduction – along with the recovery of energy. The facility burns municipal solid waste to recover energy in the form of electricity. The facility can handle up to 800 tons of municipal solid waste a day and can generate 26 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 13,000 homes.

The transition of the facility has been underway in earnest for the last year. It's the right decision for our community. The City taking over operation of the Waste to Energy facility is going to define solid waste management within our community for some time. 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. Since the City will operate both a solid waste collection and disposal functions, we will be able to integrate our planning, find economies of scale, and seek out efficiencies and ways to improve service.

Also starting today, Spokane County becomes the lead planning agency for solid waste management in our area, 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.

Our City of Spokane citizens and businesses, for the most part, won't notice many differences. We're providing the same predictable and consistent service for all of our customers. Our citizens can continue to use the disposal site at Waste to Energy as well as the County's transfer stations, as they always have. Our prices remain the same, and our full suite of solid waste collection and disposal services remain in place – everything from single-stream recycling to household hazardous waste drop-off to clean green disposal.

We have had an award-winning solid waste management system in Spokane and a recycling rate that beats the statewide average, so it's important to maintain these critical components of the system. Still, today begins significant changes. But these are changes that will make our solid waste system even stronger and smarter.

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