Notice: All services are available at the Waste-to-Energy Facility. Please limit trips to the facility and wash your hands before bringing in materials. At the facility, please observe appropriate social distancing and don’t come to the facility if you are feeling sick. More info on City service changes due to COVID-19.
Spokane's Waste to Energy (WTE) 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 22 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 13,000 homes. We sell the power to Spokane's Avista Utilities and earn about $5 million in power sales annually.
The process burns the solid waste at 2500 degrees and reduces the solid waste by 90 percent by volume and 70 percent by weight. The resulting ash is biologically inert and is sent to a landfill in Klickitat County for final disposal.
The plant is operated by the City of Spokane's Solid Waste Disposal Department. The City took over operations of the plant in November 2014 to reduce costs and ensure ongoing efficient operations. The change in operations coincided with other changes in how the Spokane community's solid waste is managed. Previously, the plant was operated by a private company under contract with the City.
The facility is regulated by Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency, the Washington State Department of Ecology, and the Spokane Regional Health District.
The Waste to Energy Facility went on line in late 1991, as part of an overall solution to handle the community's solid waste, replacing non-compliant, leaking landfills.
We selected waste to energy over landfilling because of its waste reduction capacity and because Spokane sits on top of the region's sole-source aquifer. The State of Washington joined us in this effort with a $60 million investment, recognizing our facility as a preferred alternative to aging landfills.
Watch the new 360 degree virtual tour of the Waste to Energy Facility below:
For a younger audience, you might enjoy this video instead. This 18-minute video teaches students about the importance of reducing waste, as well as the science of Waste to Energy. Print off this worksheet and test your knowledge while you view the video or afterwards.
Check your answers with this answer key.
This lesson helps students think about how humans impact the environment, how technology can be used to manage waste, and how our region deals with its own garbage locally.