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Seattle council OKs trucking food waste to Kittitas County

By Emily Heffter: 206-464-8246 or On Twitter: @EmilyHeffter
The Seattle Times
The Seattle City Council approved a contract with PacifiClean Environmental to haul the city’s food and yard waste over the mountains to Kittitas County.

The Seattle City Council on Monday approved a six-year contract to have Seattle’s food and yard waste hauled by truck to Kittitas County.

PacifiClean Environmental plans to find a site and build a new compost plant by next April, but its new agreement includes some requirements to lessen the impact on residents of the rural county on the east side of Snoqualmie Pass.

The new plant must be somewhere free of timber, outside the extreme fire-hazard zone and the Mountains to Sound Greenway, and away from rivers and homes. The property must be near other industrial uses, and Pacifi­Clean must mitigate for additional truck traffic.

With those new standards, the council voted 9-0 for the $4 million-a-year contract. The vote came after a one-week delay, prompted by a group of Kittitas County residents who raised concerns about a proposed site in a scenic area called Elk Heights.

The company has withdrawn plans to build in Elk Heights. It is in negotiations for a different site, which it hasn’t disclosed.

“With this legislation, the council is making a really clear statement that we don’t want the waste that comes from Seattle to cause problems in other communities,” said Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, one of two members who pushed for extra time to toughen the contract.

Councilmember Sally Bagshaw added a requirement that the council check in on the project four times a year.

Kittitas County residents said they were pleasantly surprised by the council’s consideration of the issues they had raised.

“Through these efforts and through the consideration on the City Council’s end, we have protected the greenway, all of the forest area, from the disaster this would have been,” said Carl Nelson, a leader in the Kittitas County effort to block the compost plant.

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