Preview of solid waste plan released

The San Juan County Public Works Department released a preliminary draft of its Solid and Hazardous Waste Plan. It is limited to information that will help voters make an informed decision about the ballot measure, which would create a solid waste user charge on developed parcels of land. The proposal is on the Nov. 8 general election ballot.

Major chapters of the draft released include three chapters projecting how solid waste operations would function in the county with and without the proposed solid waste user charge. The first chapter summarizes and contrasts the two potential systems. The others contain background on the current system and the legal requirements for what a revised and updated Solid and Hazardous Waste Plan must contain.

The draft plan is available online at

If the proposed charge passes, most collection on San Juan, Orcas and Lopez Islands is expected to remain self-haul. If the charge fails, almost all garbage and recycling will be route-collected. Additional differences are detailed in the plan document.

State law requires San Juan County to have a current plan for managing solid and hazardous wastes. The planning process has been ongoing in the public works department for more than a year. The process has included a county-wide survey, community meetings, and research on the finances and logistics of collecting and transporting recycling and waste material to the mainland.

The next release of the draft plan will include the Hazardous Waste Management Plan, and sections on waste reduction and recycling programs, educational programs, and the administrative requirements for supporting the chosen solid waste system.


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