The McCleary City Council received more good news about the city’s solid waste on April 12. Testing consistently has shown the solid waste meeting benchmarks for disposal.
In Februrary, the council learned the city’s solid waste was not consistently testing within the range for class B solid status. Class B solids can be spread on fields as fertilizer, but with the city’s inconsistent testing, the solid waste needed to be disposed of at a landfill.
Disposing of solid waste at a landfill cost the council an additional $69,000 per year, and that solution had a limited window of effectiveness as the state Department of Ecology would not accept that solution as a long term arrangement.
When time ran out, the city would have to transport the solid waste to another waste treatment facility (likely at Shelton) to have it treated to a class B solid. That would have cost the city nearly four times the current cost for solid waste disposal.
On April 12, however, public works director Todd Baun said recent results have shown the solid waste (testing for fecal coliform count) consistently has tested within the necessary limits to certify as a class B solid. The city has sent samples to a state accredited testing lab in order to get approval to begin shipping the solids east for disposal.
“The treatment plant has been working hard, adjusting the type of process they’ve been doing,” Baun said. “Every test we’ve ran has been under the 2 million fecal coliform count, which is the maximum we can have.”
Baun said McCleary’s class B solid waste is shipped to Grant County where it is used to fertilize wheat fields. The wheat fields are used to feed cattle.
While the consistent tests are good news for the city, they will not completely solve all issues facing the city’s solid waste. As the city continues to grow, the waste water treatment plant will continue to have an increasing amount of solid waste to dry or digest.
When the council first learned about its waste issues in February, a consulting contract was issued with Gray and Osborne Inc. The consultant will provide the city with options to prepare any additional waste moving forward.
“We’re diving into that (long term solutions) too,” Baun said. “There are three options they are looking into right now.”