Port Angeles unanimously approves solid waste flow control ordinance

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — The City Council has approved a change to city code that is expected to help keep a steady flow of garbage — and revenue — flowing to the Port Angeles transfer station.

The city's solid waste flow control ordinance, approved unanimously Tuesday night, would require the vast majority of waste generated within the city limit and not picked up curbside to be taken to the regional transfer station at the west end of 18th Street.

Exceptions

Craig Fulton, city public works and utilities director, said the ordinance would not apply to recycled material or to garbage such as medical waste and large quantities of ash for which there is no permitted disposal facility in Clallam County.

Port Angeles residents who have garbage picked up through the city's contract with Waste Connections already have their waste taken to the transfer station, Fulton added.

The revenue stream will go toward repaying an estimated $15.7 million in bonds for a $19.6 million city project to shore up a failing bluff next to the transfer station.

The project will shift buried waste at the shuttered landfill back from the eroding bluff and reduce the risk of garbage falling into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, city officials have said.

The council also approved Tuesday a plan to funnel sales tax revenue generated through the landfill project to stabilization costs.

The plan also directs a portion of utility tax already paid by residents and self-haulers to help pay off bonds for the project, city Chief Financial Officer Byron Olson explained.

“We will plow every penny that we gain back into the project to reduce the cost to the ratepayer,” Olson said.

Clallam County resident James Creelman, who owns several properties in Port Angeles, told council members he was concerned the flow control ordinance would establish a monopoly.

Monopoly concern

Creelman's concerns echo those of Clallam County Commissioner Mike Chapman, expressed during a Jan. 13 work session on a proposed county ordinance that would require waste generated in unincorporated Clallam County east of Lake Crescent to be taken to the transfer station.

Commissioners took no action, agreeing they would wait until Port Angeles passes its flow control ordinance before considering a code change for the county.

At the same work session, Commissioner Mike Doherty said he would like to see more of an emphasis placed on recycling included in any proposed county flow control ordinance.

On Tuesday night, Councilwoman Sissi Bruch shared Doherty's concerns.

Fulton said the county's comprehensive waste management plan is where a greater recycling emphasis should be addressed.

“The flow control ordinance is not the place to direct or control recycling,” Fulton said.

County Public Works Administrative Director Bob Martin said he is planning to bring the county flow control ordinance to the commissioners' Feb. 17 work session.

County Administrator Jim Jones said commissioners hope council members attend when the county ordinance is discussed.

“I'm in favor of working more proactively with the county by moving forward tonight,” Councilman Brad Collins said during the Tuesday meeting.

“And I believe we need to have some of us sitting here as officials working with county officials.”

“If the city were to adopt flow control and the county were to adopt flow control, we would capture about 86 percent of the current revenue,” Olson said.

Sequim memorandum

The rest would come from the city of Sequim, which has a memorandum of understanding in place that expires in 2017, to bring Sequim-generated waste to the transfer station.

The per-ton cost for residents to haul their own garbage to the transfer station jumped 19 percent from 2013 to 2014: from $142 per ton to just more than $170.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: February 05. 2014 7:19PM
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