333 S. Meridian, Puyallup, WA 98371 - 253-841-4321

City of Puyallup

Information about the Sanitary Utility Rate Change

Sanitary Utility Rate Change

City of Puyallup Utility customers recently received notice of the revised Sanitary Utility bi-monthly rate to commence on Tuesday, March 8, 2011, and appearing in billings received on and after May 13, 2011. 

                             Previous Rate                                   New Rate

Can Service           $ 1.25 (bi monthly)                            $ 3.63 (bi monthly)

Container Service  $14.67 (bi monthly)                            $42.49 (bi monthly)
(Commercial dumpsters)

 

Why the rate change?

The increased fees are to provide for both the ongoing and future costs of monitoring and reporting, and to repay financial obligations incurred to finance the city's recent settlement of claims against the sanitary utility for environmental remediation. 

The closed landfills operated by Puyallup’s Sanitary Utility in the middle of the last century have been found to be producing methane. And while methane is non toxic, a concern does arise when methane is able to accumulate in confined spaces to a point where it can be flammable and explosive.

A number of years ago, studies found that there were methane gas was migrating from closed landfills. To remedy this, the City constructed landfill gas control systems and has been monitoring them as required by law. You can learn more about what remedial measures Puyallup has undertaken as regards its closed landfills (and other closed landfills throughout Pierce County) by reading closed landfills report published by the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department found at http://www.tpchd.org/files/library/0adcbd61557ae6a9.pdf

More recently, owners of property adjacent to Puyallup’s closed Landfill D claimed that methane gas was migrating from the closed landfill onto their property, and that the methane levels were such that it was necessary for them to construct and install a landfill gas control system to assure gas levels would not reach explosive or flammable concentrations. The city has settled the property owners’ claims.

The City’s responsibility for its utilities is one that is commonly shared by cities across the state and nation.

Background Information

During the past 30 years the disposal of solid waste has become increasingly complex. Modern landfills are now constructed with engineered liners, leachate collection systems, and elaborate gas control systems designed to minimize the public health impacts of buried refuse.

In contrast, the standard practices of past generations were to simply, quickly, and inexpensively burn or otherwise dispose of solid waste into gravel pits, wetlands, ravines, or hillsides – “dumps.” Nearly every community their own “dump”, and little thought, if any, was given to the possible long term effects of these past practices

Today, we know that many older landfills have contaminated groundwater as a result of past practices. Additionally, methane gas (a non toxic gas that is naturally produced during decomposition) has been found to have migrated onto neighboring properties. To remedy these environmental problems, state and federal law have been enacted that make the entities that operated these old landfills responsible for the costs of expensive remedial measures.

City Council Action

The Puyallup City Council approved the rate change to pay for the landfill settlement at a special meeting January 11, 2011.

Previous Council discussions took place on December 7, 2010 and January 4, 2011.