Regional solid waste system


Contracts that created the Spokane Regional Solid Waste System call for the city to retain ownership of the Waste-to-Energy Plant even though county ratepayers helped pay for it.

Establishing a garbage democracy in Spokane County may prove as difficult as bringing representative government to Afghanistan.

City officials had shown little interest in Spokane County commissioners’ call for transferring control of the Spokane Regional Solid Waste System to a health-district-style coalition. But on Feb. 3, 2011, a group of regional officials including Spokane Mayor Mary Verner tentatively agreed to form such a coalition.

The city would continue to own the Waste-to-Energy Plant and transfer stations in Spokane Valley and Colbert – as guaranteed by current contracts. But the new solid waste system wouldn’t be obligated to use Spokane’s facilities or services.

A host of thorny details are to be worked out by a committee, but the basic framework is a regional board with authority to contract with Spokane or any other service provider.

Contracts that created the Spokane Regional Solid Waste System call for the city to retain ownership of the Waste-to-Energy Plant even though county ratepayers helped pay for it.

Wheelabrator Spokane’s contract to operate the plant expires Nov. 16, 2011. It says Wheelabrator may take over another company’s winning bid – leaving other companies little incentive to bid.

The chance of three-year extension of Wheelabrator Spokane’s contract to operate the Waste-to-Energy Plant is an open question. The proposed extension would remove contract terms that discourage other operators from bidding in the future, but would require $18 million worth of plant improvements.

Under the new regional system, every member government will have a seat on the board of directors. Voting is to be weighted in some fashion, perhaps by the amount of garbage residents contribute.

If Spokane chooses to join the system, as owners of the Waste-to-Energy Plant it could be a service vendor as well as a voting member.

Latest updates in this topic

  • Waste system reorganization sought

    City and county leaders tried this week to buy some time for reorganizing the Spokane Regional Solid Waste System. A committee of member governments voted 5-1 for a stopgap measure …

  • Garbage talks hinge on control

    City and county officials agree they want to retain a regional garbage-disposal system when expiring contracts begin dissolving the current arrangement next year. But Spokane County and other member governments …

  • Mercury emissions too high during incinerator test

    Spokane’s Waste-to-Energy Plant violated air pollution law during annual air testing in June. April Westby, an environmental engineer for the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency, said the agency’s director, Bill …

  • Curbside pickup of scraps, soiled paper to begin July 12

    If it’s been bugging you that you can’t recycle that discarded pizza box from last night, worry no more. Starting July 12, city of Spokane and Waste Management trash customers …

  • Bill would turn Waste to Energy Plant green

    OLYMPIA – How do you instantly boost the value of the electricity generated by Spokane’s waste-to-energy incinerator? You declare it renewable energy.

  • Menke named Spokane solid waste manager

    Spokane leaders have picked the person they hope will salvage the regional system for disposing of trash throughout Spokane County. The City Council on Monday voted unanimously to name Russ …





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