City Council OKs plan to send Seattle's organic waste to Kittitas County

SEATTLE -- The Seattle City Council approved an ordinance Monday to allow an organic waste-disposal contract with the company PacifiClean Environmental, which plans to transport it over the Cascades and process the waste into compost in Kittitas County.

PacifiClean came under criticism recently from residents of Kittitas County near Cle Elum, where the company planned to process the waste on a 80-plus acre lot. The residents contended it would be a fire risk in an area that was devastated by wildfires last summer and fall.

After the criticism, PacificClean said it would find an alternate site in Kittitas County, with the advice of county officials.

It noted that the Seattle City Council ordinance approved Monday said the following:

"The Seattle City Council has heard the concerns of residents of Kittitas County and expects that in developing its new facility, PacifiClean will work with Kittitas County, the Washington Department of Ecology and other regulatory agencies to mitigate environmental impacts of organics processing services.

"PacifiClean has agreed to select a site that 1) is outside of the Mountains-to-Sound Greenway, 2) is without a significant amount of timber, 3) is outside areas designated as high or extreme fire hazard, 4) is surrounded by compatible industrial uses with a minimum of residential housing, 5) has little or no downwind development, 6) is not proximate to waterways, 7) has adequate infrastructure to accommodate truck trips, and 8) has limited to no view impacts"

The ordinance noted that operational changes authorized by the new proposed processing services contracts will allow the city to reduce costs and save ratepayers’ money by having contractors haul the city’s organic waste. Additionally, the Seattle City Council noted their desire to preserve employment opportunities for Seattle Public Utilities employees that would be displaced from implementing its new contracts.