The City of McCleary’s solid waste problems could be nearing a resolution.
On Wednesday, March 8, McCleary public works director Todd Baun told the city council recent tests now are testing consistently within the levels necessary to receive a class B rating.
Treated solid waste that tests with a class B rating can be applied to land on the east side of the state as fertilizer. For perspective, class A treated solid waste can be bagged and sold to the general public as lawn fertilizer.
During a meeting on Feb. 22, Baun had said treated solid waste was not consistently testing as class B. Because of the inconsistent results, the city was taking its solid waste for landfill disposal. The state Department of Ecology, Baun warned, soon would disallow that solution. If the city doesn’t solve the situation, the solid waste would need to be transported to another treatment plant (likely in Shelton, Baun said) to be treated to a class B rating. Transporting the solid waste for treatment would cost an additional $69,000 per year in comparison to treating the waste at the McCleary plant.
The council then was urged to hire a consultant to determine a solution, which is thought to be the installation of an additional “digester” where the waste can dry until fecal coliform levels test at a safe rating.
While the consultant group was studying the situation and drafting solutions, Baun and his crew continued making adjustments at the plant and now have solid waste that is testing well within the class B rating.
“The fecal matter was down to 43,700 and they have to be under 2 million, so whatever the guys have been doing has been working out great,” Baun said. “We’re going to try to get a couple more consistent tests along those timelines and then we’ll resubmit to Ecology.”
Though that’s good news for the short-term, it does not solve another long-term issue facing the plant. The plant is nearing capacity when it comes to solid waste treatment. The additional digester still will be necessary, Baun said.
“Right now we’re kind of at the max with our digester,” Baun said. “We have to have a plan if we’re going to continue to grow in McCleary.”