Port Angeles still hopes for solid waste law passage
By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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After a 2½-hour hearing Tuesday, county commissioners indefinitely postponed voting on a proposed countywide ordinance that would mimic one approved unanimously by the City Council in February.
The proposed ordinance would require that non-recyclable solid waste generated in the unincorporated area east of Lake Crescent be taken to the Port Angeles Regional Transfer Station.
The city is seeking the proposed countywide “solid waste flow control” ordinance to help finance revenue bonds to shift a portion of the buried landfill near the transfer station back from a falling bluff along the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
The decades’ worth of buried waste is being held back from falling into the Strait by as little as 11 feet of bluff in some areas.
City officials have said the ordinance, if adopted, would lessen the interest rates on the municipal bonds the city plans to sell to fund the landfill stabilization project.
Without it, officials have said the interest rate payments could cost between $1.5 million and $2 million more.
Commissioners Tuesday heard residents raise such concerns about the proposed ordinance while also hearing city officials such as City Manager Dan McKeen and Public Works and Utilities Director Craig Fulton say it is necessary to keep costs down.
“No action on flow control will cost county residents due to the rate increases that will likely be required to cover the additional cost of the bond,” Fulton said Wednesday.
“We’re still in discussions and in communications hoping the door is still open,” he added.
The Port Angeles Regional Transfer Station at 3501 W. 18th St. charges $170 per ton for solid waste.
By comparison, the solid waste disposal facility operated by Jefferson County Public Works charges $144 per ton.
The Port Angeles facility rate jumped 19 percent from 2013, when the per-ton rate was $142.
“That big increase was directly related to the landfill bluff project,” Fulton said.
The city plans to use bonds to fund about $15.7 million worth of the project, with a $3.9 million grant from the state Department of Ecology picking up the rest.
Work on bluff
The commissioners’ Tuesday move came as members of the Port Angeles Utility Advisory Committee, a subcommittee of the City Council, unanimously recommended agreements to pay two Seattle-based firms for work on the stabilization effort later that day.
Both items will be put before the full City Council for a vote at Tuesday’s council meeting, which will start at 6 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall, 321 E. Fifth St.
Committee members recommended a $1.4 million contract with consulting firm Anchor QEA for managing construction of the landfill project, which the staff hopes to begin this summer.
The city put out a request for qualifications for construction management in January and interviewed three finalists in February, ultimately selecting Anchor QEA as the best firm to pursue a contract with.
Construction bids are to be opened April 23.
The project will move about 265,000 cubic yards of buried waste back from the bluff to another part of the landfill and augment a seawall at the toe of the bluff.
“We certainly on this magnitude [project] do not have the staff in-house to provide construction management adequately,” City Engineer Mike Puntenney said.
Committee members also recommended a $426,000 amendment to the city’s contract with design firm Herrera Environmental Consultants, which designed the stabilization effort.
The amendment would bring the firm’s total contract with the city to about $3.4 million.
The amendment will pay for, among other things, Herrera’s work reviewing design submittals after the project is bid and consulting on any design changes needed during construction, city engineering manager Kathryn Neal said.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Report Rob Ollikainen contributed to this report.
Last modified: April 09. 2014 5:47PM