WENATCHEE — Douglas County residents will not be able to use a new hazardous waste collection site in Chelan County for at least six months.
The Chelan County Commission has asked the Douglas County commissioners to provide funding to support the building off Highway 97A near the Stemilt Growers roundabout.
But the Douglas County Commission, which met Tuesday in a joint session with its Chelan County counterpart, expressed concern about the fact that it was unknown how much it would cost to run the building. Douglas County commissioners said they wanted to wait at least six months to see cost estimates for the building's operation.
Douglas County Commissioner Kyle Steinburg expressed the most concern.
"I'm not even interested until a year or a year and a half," he said. "I just think it would be really irresponsible to jump into bed on something where you don't even know the quantities or costs associated with it."
Chelan County knows how much it will cost to dispose of each type of item, whether it is paint or oil, said Jill FitzSimmons, county spokesperson. It is the quantities of each type of item that the county is unsure about.
Disposal at the waste building, though, will be free for Chelan County residents for the foreseeable future, including city residents, FitzSimmons said. The cities in Chelan County are providing the county with funding to operate the center and employ one full-time and one part-time employee. County staff will ask the public for donations to help with costs.
The cities are providing the following annual contributions:
- Wenatchee — $143,000
- Chelan — $17,000
- Cashmere — $13,000
- Leavenworth — $9,400
- Entiat — $5,100
There will be a limitation on the size of the containers people can drop off, FitzSimmons said. Substances must be in a maximum of 5-gallon containers.
"You can bring in as many of 5 gallons as you have, but you can't bring in a drum," she said. "Because that is going to be very difficult for us to pass on for Clean Harbor to carry away."
Douglas County hosts drop-off days that are dependent on grant funding from the state Department of Ecology, said Becci Piepel, Douglas County Solid Waste director. The drop-off days sometimes happen every year, sometimes every two years depending on whether funding is available. People can bring all the household waste they have on those days.
Douglas County does not have plans to build its own hazardous waste building at this time, Piepel said.
Most counties in Washington use a hazardous waste building to drop off things like paint and oil, FitzSimmons said. Chelan and Douglas counties were one of the few counties left that organize drop-off days with the state Department of Ecology.