Regional landfill to break ground
Site is located 3 miles east of Washtucna
Last updated 7/11/2023 at 2:23pm
WASHTUCNA -A regional landfill in the works for more than three decades is about to break ground.
Waste Management announced last Friday, March 3, that it hopes to break ground on a 550-acre landfill later this month; a time and day have yet to be announced.
Company Senior Manager of Business Development Ken Gimpel said the project has been on the drawing board since the late-1980s.
"It has been sitting dormant until about the last year-and-a-half or so, until we decided it's time to develop," he said.
The 550 acres is situated on a 3,200-acre parcel between Mullan and Gray roads, north of State Highway 26, about three miles east of Washtucna.
The company has been working with Adams County and the state Department of Ecology on the proposal since before the county landfill near Bruce was closed and replaced with two transfer stations.
"The landfill was designed in the early '90s, and went through the permitting process," Gimpel said, noting Waste Management has had an unclassified land-use permit through Adams County and a solid waste handling permit from the state health and ecology departments since about 1997.
Looking ahead, Gimpel said the county will save money in trash disposal costs because of the landfill.
"Currently, they're taking their waste to Oregon," he said, referencing the large regional landfill near Arlington, Ore., where much of the waste collected in Washington state is being sent. "The county will be able to just bring that waste to our new landfill."
The landfill won't interrupt the county's transfer stations, he said.
In addition to a cost savings, Gimpel said the project will bring jobs to the Washtucna area.
Initially, there will be multiple construction jobs as access roads, scales, monitoring systems and other facilities are built.
After the landfills projected "early 2024 opening," there will be at least a half-dozen new, permanent local jobs.
That number could "escalate over time," he said, noting that growth depends on how much additional refuse is transported to the new landfill in coming years.
"Job creation will depend on volume increase," he said.
In a press release issued last week about the new facility, Waste Management said the landfill will be a "state-of-the art facility" for disposal of municipal solid waste.
Gimpel said that means typical household waste will be put into cells to be buried on the property.
At a minimum, he said the landfill should have a 150-year capacity.
But since the company owns the surrounding 2,650 acres, the landfill could be expanded.
In the meantime, that land will remain mixed use; its already leased to local farmers and ranchers for dryland wheat and cattle.
With groundbreaking almost ready to take place, the company is finishing up some groundwater well monitoring systems.
After groundbreaking, area residents will notice access road construction, followed by the scales and scalehouse and excavation of cells.
The cells will contain composite liners, and leachate and landfill gas collection systems.
Once open, the landfill will serve mostly Eastern Washington, but some waste could potentially come from North Idaho and Western Montana, he said.
This isn't the only upgrade Waste Management has made in recent years.
Last year, the company announced plans to spend $56 million for new recycling technology at its Spokane Materials and Recycling Technology Center.