WATERVILLE — The Douglas County Commission is not interested in participating in Chelan County’s moderate-risk waste center at this time.
The two county commissions are still in discussions about whether there is a way for Douglas County residents to use the center; Douglas County commissioners, though, rejected Chelan County’s last offer, Douglas County Commissioner Dan Sutton said. Chelan County wanted Douglas County to share in about 33% of the operating costs of the center plus an additional charge for how many days a week the center would be open for Douglas County residents, according to Chelan County documents.
The center operates three days a week, so if Douglas County residents had full use of the center the cost would have been $145,196, according to the documents. If residents could only drop material off one day a week, it would have cost $94,347.
“It would be cheaper on the course we have and offer a cleanup for the people who drop (waste) off on an annual or biennial basis,” Sutton said.
The waste center takes material, such as oil, pesticides, cleaners, antifreeze and more, according to previous reporting. It is free for residents of Chelan County to use through funding from the county’s cities and the county itself.
It costs Douglas County about $50,000 for a drop-off event, where people drive up in their cars at a temporary location and give Douglas County employees all their waste, he said. Douglas County could run one of those events twice and year and it would still make more economical sense than Chelan County’s proposal, Sutton said.
The moderate-risk waste center has had to turn about 37 Douglas County residents away since it opened and commissioners have received a few emails from frustrated residents, he said. But even if 200 Douglas County residents used the center a year that would still be at least $500 per resident who used the site.
Eight to 15 years in the future, Douglas County might have its own site where residents can drop off moderate-risk waste materials, but it would be in conjunction with another county building, he said. County road crews will need a site to clean the pollutants from the liquid picked up from road sweepers and has a location in mind that could work for both.
“What we would like from Chelan County is that they come up with a realistic and reasonable per-car charge to drop moderate waste off for Douglas County residents,” Sutton said. “I’m a little perplexed why they don’t want to go that route.”
Douglas and Chelan counties are looking at a potential voucher program that would allow Douglas County residents to use the moderate-risk waste center, Chelan County Commissioner Bob Bugert said. Residents could get a voucher from Douglas County’s Solid Waste Department and be reimbursed in part for any cost to use the waste center.
Chelan County’s Public Works’ personnel have sent over that proposal for the Douglas County Commission to review, Bugert said.