Benton County commissioners have agreed to spend another $30,000 to help find a suitable site for a $1 million household hazardous waste facility.
The extra money, most of it from a state grant, will be added to $120,000 being paid to HDR Engineering of Pasco, which has been searching and evaluating sites since November.
Benton County has been without a waste collection facility for almost two years after a June 2010 fire that destroyed Richland's collection site at the Horn Rapids Landfill.
The site was where Benton County residents could drop off materials, including old paint and oil, to be disposed of safely and properly.
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All six sites HDR staff reviewed were not viable for various reasons, said Donna Holmes, the county's solid waste specialist.
Holmes said Richland city officials don't want a waste facility on city land on Queensgate Drive.
And they aren't interested in a new facility at the landfill site where fire destroyed the previous building, she added.
Benton County's property on Ely Street in Kennewick also is off the list of potential sites because it would force the relocation of the road department shop facilities.
And Holmes said there is little chance residents in the Cottonwood Boulevard area of Badger Canyon would welcome a waste facility nearby. "They already don't want an RV park there, so it's unlikely they'll accept a waste facility," Holmes said.
And a potential site in West Richland near Keene Road and Belmont Boulevard apparently is no longer available, Holmes added. Some private property near Clearwater Avenue and South Clodfelter Road also was considered.
Finding a site hasn't been easy, but Holmes said getting the money to build it may be a greater challenge.
"The commissioners are not interested in providing county funds. It's just not as high a priority as other things. Until people start banging on the commissioners' doors for the facility, it won't be built," Holmes said. "No one has the money to put up."
Commissioner Leo Bowman said the board agrees there is a need, but the timing is bad.
"With the economy as it is and capital construction money being what it is, now is not the time," he said. The county has been able to meet the need in the two years since the fire by holding periodic collection events.
"It is an alternative," Bowman said.
In addition to looking for a home for a new facility, HDR's contract includes reviewing the county's solid waste plan.
The cost of the study is shared by the county and the state's Coordinated Prevention Grant Program.
Holmes said the county has about $125,000 available from the state toward buying a site.
Until a permanent facility is built, county residents will have to wait for collection days, which are scheduled several months apart in different areas of the county.
-- John Trumbo: 582-1529; firstname.lastname@example.org