In 2019, Clark County engaged an independent consultant team to conduct a comprehensive review of the regional solid waste system. This team, working with county staff, the cities and town within Clark County, the Solid Waste Advisory Commission, and the Regional Solid Waste System Advisory Committee, assessed the conditions of existing facilities, established needs and opportunities to improve current operations, and identified the improvements necessary to serve the county for the next 20 years. The study and report occurred over multiple phases.
The Regional Solid Waste System Study (RSWSS) phase 1 report, completed in October 2021, provided a comprehensive assessment of the Clark County transfer stations and recycling infrastructure. It identified improvements needed in the current infrastructure and investments necessary to provide the capacity to manage waste over the next 20 years. It also included an evaluation of alternatives for serving fast growing areas of the county, a feasibility analysis for a new materials recovery facility, and thorough financial analysis of the current cost of services.
Phase 2, completed in July 2023, completed facilities planning to determine investments needed and prepare a plan for capital improvements to the system. The phase 2 report included updates to population data and projections, considerations for new laws (e.g., HB 1799 concerning organic management), and further details on the options, recommendations, and decisions around addressing the identified needs.
Evaluation of ownership
One element of this study, completed in conjunction with phase 2, focused on future ownership of solid waste facilities, which consists of three transfer stations and the material recovery facilities. The long-term operation contract with Columbia Resource Company included a condition that the county, working in concert with the cities, could purchase the three transfer stations in the future.
The consultant team evaluated several options for public and private ownership and operations, listing the advantages and disadvantages of each, for consideration by the county and cities. The findings were consolidated into a separate ownership report.
Preliminary siting report
The RSWSS included a review of the siting guidelines established in appendix M of the 2015 Solid Waste Management Plan and the completion of a transfer station siting study. During the review, it was noted that the Central Transfer and Recycling Center receives about 60% of the waste generated in Clark County while the area it serves is expected to receive the largest population growth over the next 20 years.
Recognizing the burden this will put on the existing transfer station system, recommendations were provided which include siting a fourth transfer station in northern Clark County. The preliminary siting report outlines recommendations and includes the steps to site a new transfer station. Clark County will continue to evaluate options and anticipates further studies including a feasibility study and comparative analysis prior to the next plan update.