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Home » Archives » August 2006 » Mandatory Curbside Trash Pick-Up Under Consideration For San Juan Island

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08/10/2006: "Mandatory Curbside Trash Pick-Up Under Consideration For San Juan Island"


Business as usual at the existing transfer station on Sutton Road on San Juan Island is going to change. The only questions are how, when, and what the impact on island residents will be. The public will have an opportunity to discuss these issues at the next meeting of the Solid Waste Advisory Committee (SWAC) at 7-9 pm on August 10 at the Mullis Senior Center. You are urged to attend to make your views known.

Two options are under consideration. One would limit public access to a new, smaller transfer station that would take garbage collected under a universal (mandatory) household curbside pick-up system for both trash and recycling. The other would be to construct a new self-haul transfer station that would provide the same level of service, in terms of hours of operation, available programs, and accessibility to the public, as the existing transfer station. Both options would likely consider either the use of the existing site or a new site all together.

The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries has determined that the existing transfer station is unsafe for its workers. The San Juan County Health Department has determined that the facility does not meet its regulatory requirements. As a result, the transfer station would need to be substantially modified to continue operations, which may not be feasible. As these modifications have not yet taken place, the existing facility is at risk of being shut down at any time.

The two options under consideration are in response to a request by the County Council to the SWAC, which consists of volunteer citizens, to study the solid waste problems at the existing transfer station on Sutton Rd. and to make a recommendation on how to best deal with solid waste and recycling on the island. SWAC has held a series of public meetings over the last several months to consider several possible solutions and to gather citizen input. SWAC has narrowed the options to the two described above. A final recommendation to the County Council will likely be made by the end of September 2006. In the meantime, the County Council has not yet taken an official position on the issue.

The exact location of a new transfer station for either the curbside or self-haul option has not been determined and is not currently under discussion. The new location would be determined based upon subsequent analysis and public meetings.

SWAC's preliminary analysis shows that the two options would cost the average household approximately the same per 32-gallon trash can. Household pick-up, which could begin almost immediately, would avoid the long delay that would occur from siting and building a new transfer station.

David Dehlendorf
San Juan Island



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