San Juan Island waste transfer station EIS will be released July 28

The draft Environmental Impact Statement for the San Juan Island waste-transfer station project will be presented to the County Council, the state Department of Ecology and released to the public on July 28.

The release marks the beginning of a 45-day public comment period.

The county has scheduled two public information meetings in August, followed by a public hearing on Sept. 4 to take oral comments on the plan. Written comments and questions about the draft statement will be accepted between the release of the draft document and Sept. 12.

The Environmental Impact Statement analysis was initiated in late 2006 after the County Council, responding to recommendations from the Solid Waste Advisory Committee – a citizens’ advisory committee – directed the Public Works Department to work with the advisory committee to move forward with studies on the siting of a solid waste facility to replace the current San Juan Island facility.

The existing facility is located on Sutton Road on property leased from the Town of Friday Harbor.

“According to the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s formula for processing capacity, the current facility is functioning at 185 percent capacity just providing basic service. So the current situation is not sustainable,” said Steve Alexander, manager of the county's Solid Waste Program.

The Environmental Impact Statement looks at the potential environmental impact of each of five “Action Alternatives,” plus the alternative of taking “No Action.” The action alternatives include building a new facility at the current Sutton Road site or at sites on Beaverton Valley Road, Egg Lake Road, Golf Course Road or Daniel Lane.

An interactive map showing the locations studied are available on line here.

“In addition to the capacity problem, as the current (Sutton Road) property is configured, there is no opportunity to offer services citizens have requested such as a re-use area, ferrous metal recycling, and composting; and there are health code and safety issues that need to be dealt with in the very near future,” Alexander said.

“Because of the scope of any project that would meet current capacity needs and offer additional services, state law required us to analyze alternative sites as well as the current Sutton Road Site.”

In preparing the draft Environmental Impact Statement, consultants studied nine categories of potential environmental impact that constructing and operating a transfer station on each of the site would have on the site itself and the surrounding areas. Those categories include:

— Air Quality
— Household Hazardous Waste Storage
— Land Use
— Litter, Odor and Vectors
— Noise
— Stormwater and Groundwater
— Traffic
— Visual Impacts
— Wetlands

A second document, called the “Supplementary Alternatives Analysis,” which will list preliminary cost estimates for building the transfer station facilities on each site along with project funding options, will be released in early August.

After public comments are reviewed by county staff, consultants and the Solid Waste Advisory Committee, additional studies may be performed in response to issues raised. The current timetable for site selection calls for the Solid Waste Advisory Committee to review recommendations from county staff this fall and forward its final recommendation to the County Council in time for it to select an alternative in January.

The public will have opportunities to provide further input on the project and site selection as it is being considered by the Solid Waste Advisory Council and the County Council.

Beginning July 28, the draft Environmental Impact Statement will be available for download from the county’s Web site and for review at the San Juan Island Public Library, the San Juan County Public Works Department and the Community Development and Planning Office.

Printed and CD copies will also be available for sale at cost.

Additional information about the transfer station project is available


Schedule of EIS-related events
— July 28, 10 a.m., San Juan County Council Hearing Room: Solid Waste Transfer Station draft EIS released; 45-day public comment period begins. During this period, written comments may be submitted at any of the public meetings or via mail, e-mail or dropped off in person at the addresses below. Oral comments will be accepted only at the Sept. 4 public hearing.

— Aug. 7, 4:30-6:30 p.m., Fire Station Meeting Room, 1011 Mullis St., Friday Harbor: Informational meeting with technical experts, county staff and EIS authors. Questions answered, information about EIS and assistance with developing and submitting comments.

— Aug. 28, 4:30-6:30 p.m., Fire Station Meeting Room, 1011 Mullis St., Friday Harbor: Informational meeting. Experts will again be available to answer questions about the Environmental impact statement and accept written comments.

— Sept. 4, 5-7 p.m., Fire Station Meeting Room, 1011 Mullis St., Friday Harbor. Public hearing. Though written comments will be accepted throughout the 45-day period, this will be the only opportunity for the public to offer oral comments, suggestions and concerns to be incorporated into the final Environmental Impact Statement.

— Sept. 12, 4:30 p.m.: Close of public comment period for the Transfer Station Environmental Impact Statement.

To submit a written comment on the draft Environmental Impact Statement between July 28 and Sept. 12, e-mail

Send regular mail to:
Transfer Station Comments
Community Development & Planning Department
P.O. Box 947
Friday Harbor, WA 98250

Hand deliver to:
Community Development & Planning Department
135 Rhone St.
Friday Harbor.

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