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Council to change bulk water fees; Walco talks on DEQ landfill plans



GRANGEVILLE – “Basically we’ve been giving away bulk water free for years,” said Grangeville Public Works Director Jeff McFrederick.

Now that stands to be changed. At the Nov. 17 Grangeville City Council meeting, a motion was passed to charge for bulk water the same rate as for out of city users, as well as the monthly $15 water bond retirement fee. As this is a fee change, before its implementation the city is required to hold a public hearing to take comments, a date for which has not been set.

The issue continues discussion raised at the Nov. 3 meeting that bulk water sold by the city at $3 per thousand gallons was approximately half the cost of those users connected to the system.

To better control bulk water sales, McFrederick also proposed installing a card reader system for users, who up until recently have been on the honor system to report their purchase amounts. This portion of the system has been changed as now users have to contact city staff to turn on water for bulk purchases.

In an unrelated matter, representatives Pat and Marietta Holman with city solid waste collection provider, Walco, Inc., approached the council for its support concerning proposed regulation changes by Idaho Department of Environmental Quality regarding yard waste. According to the Holmans, DEQ is considering redefining how yard waste is handled that would result in these materials – such as grass and tree limbs – not being allowed to be disposed of in their Mt. Idaho Transfer Station landfill.

Currently, yard waste is taken free of charge for city residents of Grangeville at the station, but according to the Holmans the proposed DEQ definition changes would result in either a charge for this service – to cover shipping costs to the Payette landfill – or discontinuation of the service.

“This is difficult for us,” Pat said. “For the last several years we’ve been building up the yard waste collection. It would be tough to take the whole program and throw it away.”

In a five-to-one vote, council approved a letter in support of DEQ retaining the existing definition for yard waste. Councilor Pete Lane stated he wanted to review the proposed regulations before sending a letter, and he voted nay to the motion.

DEQ will be taking comments through Dec. 5 on its draft guidance for non-municipal solid waste landfills. The draft is available for view online at http://www.deq.idaho.gov.



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