Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

New commercial drop-off rule: Transfer station repairs underway following fire


August 23, 2018 | View PDF

Recovery and repair continues at the Whitman County Waste Transfer Station after an early morning fire Aug. 3 took the three-year-old garbage transfer building out of commission.

A Belfor of Spokane cleaning crew is on hand this week to scrub smoke residue off metal and pull down damaged insulation to be replaced in half of the building.

Last week, Greg’s Electric of Colfax took out damaged lights and disconnected electrical wiring before new steel panels are put in. A representative from Crain Equipment of Eugene, Ore., was set to arrive Wednesday to inspect the crane which is inside the transfer station.

Replacement steel panels are on order from the original manufacturer in Nebraska, with two to three weeks remaining until expected arrival.

Mark Storey, County Public Works director, and Solid Waste Operations Manager David Nails aim for re-opening in early October.

In the meantime, commercial garbage and recycling trucks will no longer drop off after 4 p.m., while residents are still permitted to come in until 5 p.m. The earlier cut-off for commercial trucks allows more time for loads to be inspected.

Also, no loads are left inside the building overnight.

Nails noted last week two other fires have started in the new transfer building since it went on line.

The smoldering item(s) that caused the fire arrived in a load of garbage at the end of the day Aug. 2, in a truck from WSU or Pullman Disposal. It started in garbage which had been left in the building overnight to be processed the next day.

“The biggest problem was, it was burning right next to a translucent (fiberglass) panel on the wall that caught on fire,” said Storey.

The building’s intermittent fiberglass panels were installed to allow natural light into the building,

With the structure now out of use, its purpose of handling only garbage has reverted back to the former transfer building, which had been handling recycling since 2015.

With the old building now taking both garbage and recycling, two members of the county road crew are on site helping, along with two temporary workers.

Garbage and recycling go in four slots. The new building had added seven more, for garbage alone.

Nails noted the increased volume of intake since the last time the building was used for both waste streams.

“Because of the growth of Pullman, it’s noticeable, it’s huge,” Nails said.

He has also postponed setting a date for the annual fall cleanup week which features reduced rates, usually in the first week of October.


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