Neighbors fear potential waste site will harm area

KITTITAS COUNTY, Wash. -- Breathing fresh air is what neighbors love here in Kittitas County. Being able to enjoy the beautiful scenery is what pulled Douglas Philbrick to the area.

"One of the reason why I moved here was so I can go out in the middle of the night on my porch and see all the milky way and constellations," said Douglas.

But neighbors fear if a facility, PacifiClean gets their permit approved to process organic wastes, it will harm the area. If the permit is approved, 160,000 tons of organic waste and 64,000 tons of finished compost will be processed a year at a site located on Thorp Prairie Road. Some of the wastes include yard debris, food waste, and bio-solids.

Neighbors that live just two miles away from the potential waste site were worried about hazardous conditions and health conditions that could affect them.

"When they're turning these piles they have the potential to spontaneously combust and if they do, just over the till there won't be any time for response for fire people to get here," said Douglas.

KIMA asked Larry Condon from PacifiClean what they had to say about residents concerned about health issues.

"There's regulations we have to abide by state and county which of course this facility will abide by all of those," said Larry.

80 percent of the organic wastes would come from King and Snohomish Counties. Larry said the climate in Kittitas County made controlling the input on compost easier.

"There is organics being produced no matter what, where it goes," said Larry. "The key is to figure out how to process it in a beneficial manner."

The County is reviewing the application to approve the land-use permit which could take months.