The Jefferson County Department of Public Works manages the county-wide solid waste program.
As required by the State, the Solid Waste operations must be financially self-sustaining. A relatively small portion of the program is funded through grants from the Department of Ecology. The rest of the program is funded by tipping fees charged for disposal at the sites in Port Townsend and Quilcene. The level of service must be balanced with the goal of maintaining the current tipping fee. There was no change in the tipping fee from 1993 to 2014.
The municipal Solid Waste Transfer Station is at the site of the County’s former landfill off of Jacob Miller Road, just outside of the Port Townsend city limits. Jefferson County also operates a rural drop box site in Quilcene for the convenience of residents in South County. Each year, more than 19,000 tons of municipal solid waste is disposed of through the County’s export waste system. The materials are shipped by truck to a facility in Tacoma where they are trans-loaded to railcars, to complete the 345 mile journey to Republic Services’ Roosevelt Regional Landfill in Klickitat County.
This is the path that takes solid waste from Jefferson County to the Roosevelt Regional Landfill near the Columbia River.
Monitoring of the closed landfill at the Jacob Miller Road site is conducted monthly, as well as management of the small amount of methane gas that comes from the decomposition of the covered materials.
Household Hazardous Waste
By agreement with the Port of Port Townsend, Jefferson County Public Works has operated a Moderate Risk Waste Facility in the the Boat Haven since 1997. Each year, this facility collects nearly 28 tons of household hazardous waste items, including oil-based paints, mercury thermostats, rechargeable batteries, and other compounds that pose a risk to the environment.
A significant part of the Solid Waste budget is used to manage household hazardous waste. Many of the toxic products could be replaced by non-toxic products, posing less harm or even no harm to you and the environment. Jefferson County’s Public Health Department maintains an informational web site, Green Living, including methods for non-toxic cleaning.
Public Works contracts with Skookum Recycling Services to collect and process the County’s recyclables such as glass, paper and plastic. There are seven sites between Brinnon and Port Townsend for free recycling. See Recycle for locations.
Metals and batteries brought to the Transfer Station are recycled, as well as fluorescent light tubes, compact fluorescent bulbs, oil and antifreeze brought to either the Moderate Risk Waste Facility in the Boat Haven or the Transfer Station’s Recycling Center.
Through an interlocal agreement, Jefferson County hosts the City of Port Townsend’s Biosolids Facility at the S. Jacob Miller Road site. This facility mixes ground yard debris, such as lawn clippings, small tree limbs and leaves with biosolids, from the City’s wastewater treatment plant, to produce compost which is made available for the public to purchase. More information on the compost facility can be found on the City’s Compost Facility website.
For examples of how you can manage yard debris in your own backyard, see Soils, Compost and Mulch, with information provided by WSU.
Public Works provided initial funding for Public Health’s junk vehicles removal program, using income from the disposal facilities.
Public Works lends financial support to Public Health’s Abatement program through an interagency transfer of one dollar per ton of municipal solid waste disposed of at our two collection sites. This assists Public Health in the clean-up of illegal dump sites throughout the county.
Solid Waste Education
Most of the Solid Waste education is conducted by Public Health through an interagency agreement. Solid Waste has partnerships with WSU Extension and OlyCAP to provide such things as classes on backyard composting techniques and relies on the work of several citizen-driven initiatives to help further educational outreach.
How can you get involved?
Public Works gets advice and guidance on solid waste from the Solid Waste Advisory Committee (SWAC) which meets six times per year.
This committee is composed of concerned citizens, businesses, and representatives of the City of Port Townsend and the Board of County Commissioners. The meetings are open to the public. They usually last for an hour to an hour-and-a-half. Please join us and make your concerns and ideas heard. Below are the dates and times for the 2013 meetings:
2017 SWAC Meetings
Public Works Conference Room – 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm
623 Sheridan Street, Port Townsend
The meeting schedule for 2017 is as follows:
July 27 changed to July 13 at 1:30, Gardiner Community Center
To reach the Solid Waste Manager, Tom Boatman, with comments or concerns, call 360-385-9160 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.