The city of Cheney, which opted out of the Spokane County regional trash system, is opting back in to a major part of it.
This summer, Cheney became only the second city in Washington – behind Seattle – to win approval from the state for a plan to operate an independent garbage system. Cheney will handle its own recycling, household hazardous waste, trash education programs and garbage. But it needed somewhere to put its garbage.
Most trash systems in Washington are county-led and countywide. In November, control of the regional solid waste system in Spokane County will shift from the city of Spokane to Spokane County. It no longer will include all cities within the county.
While some cities opted out of the system to find a cheaper way to dispose trash, Cheney has chosen to stick with the Waste-to-Energy Plant, which is owned by Spokane and will be the main place of disposal for the new regional system.
Though Cheney will remain outside the regional system, it will contract with Spokane to dump it’s trash at the Waste-to-Energy Plant.
Ken Gimpel, Spokane’s assistant utilities director, said Cheney officials determined that creating a new process to haul trash to landfills outside of Spokane County – which Spokane Valley is working to do – would cost more than taking the trash to the West Plains incinerator.
Cheney will pay $60 a ton to dispose trash at the plant. That’s less than the $98.50 a ton that’s charged to garbage trucks that drop off trash because Cheney won’t be using the regional system’s recycling and other services, Gimpel said.
The Spokane City Council on Sept. 8 will consider the agreement to accept Cheney’s trash. The deal also will allow Cheney residents to use the Waste-to-Energy Plant as a dump for the same price city of Spokane residents pay.
Gimpel said he is hoping that Airway Heights and Medical Lake join the regional system. Spokane officials say if those cities don’t send trash picked up at the curb to the plant, residents in those cities likely will pay more to self-haul to the plant.
“The one thing we can’t have is people who are paying into the system subsidizing those who aren’t paying into the system,” said Councilman Mike Allen.
The headline on this story was changed on August 29, 3014 to correct an error. The city of Cheney is not joining the Spokane County regional solid waste system even though it will contract with the city of Spokane to dump its trash at the Waste-to-Energy Plant.