Benton County could get new waste facility

Benton County residents have been without a moderate-risk waste facility since a fire destroyed one in Richland several years ago. But a new one could soon be in the works.

Residents have had to take paint, oil, batteries and other items to twice-yearly events at places like the Benton County Fairgrounds.

Cary Roe, Kennewick public works director, said the county is looking at converting part of its public works yard at 1709 Ely Street in Kennewick into a location to collect such items for disposal or recycling.

“It’s very expensive to run these mobile sites,” Roe told the city council at last week’s workshop meeting. “A fixed facility is going to drive down your operating costs.”

The county has about $1.7 million to go toward the new facility, Roe said. Commissioners recently sent out a request for proposals.

City staff could also be involved in operating the facility, Roe said.

Roe also discussed the city’s need to clean out a 78-inch-diameter pipe that drains water released from Zintel Canyon Dam. The pipe is filled with more than 5 feet of sediment in places near where water discharges at Tri-City Country Club.

The city estimates 685 cubic yards of sediment are in 1,000 feet of pipe running along South Rainier Street.

Part of the plan involves installing four new manholes, making the sediment easier to reach, Roe said. The city also is considering ways of removing the dirt, including a bucket and cable system and a large vacuum to suck it out.

The city will test the sediment for possible contamination, though Roe said contamination is unlikely. The concern is the dirt eventually reaching the Columbia River.

The cost of the project has yet to be determined, he said. But the city is likely to have to pay for it.

Councilman Paul Parish would like the Kennewick Irrigation District to be more responsible in managing sediment that gets in the canyon, he said.