Survey invites San Juan County residents to help shape solid waste policy

Beginning July 5, the San Juan Island waste transfer station will become a  self-haul
Beginning July 5, the San Juan Island waste transfer station will become a self-haul 'drop box' facility. Packer trucks, including those used by franchise hauler San Juan Sanitation and the Town of Friday Harbor, will have to dump at the Orcas Island transfer station or on the mainland.
— image credit: Scott Rasmussen / Journal file

County Communications Officer Stan Matthews issued this press release Thursday about the San Juan County solid waste management plan survey:

This month, San Juan County residents will have the opportunity to participate in a survey that will help guide the development of the county’s updated solid waste management plan. That plan will define the type and quality of services the county’s solid waste program develops and offers in the future.

The survey process will follow two tracks: First, a paper form will be mailed to 4,000 household addresses selected randomly and in proportion to the population of each island. People selected to participate in the mailed survey will be able to fill out and return the paper survey or use an electronic form online. The mailed survey will produce responses from a broad, statistically valid sample of county residents. 

Responses to an online survey, available to all who wish to participate, will be tallied and analyzed separately. Both surveys will be managed by an independent pollster to insure the questions are formulated without bias and individual responses are fairly and confidentially analyzed.

The survey will address garbage collection and transfer, waste reduction strategies, techniques of recycling, levels of local control and funding.

"We currently have an expensive solid waste system that does not satisfy residents' expectations nor, in some instances, the requirements of the State Ecology Department," Solid Waste Program Manager Steve Alexander said. "While we are required to meet minimum state requirements, we also need to know what the people who live here need and want so that we can provide a service they are willing to pay for.”

Survey forms will be mailed to the randomly selected recipients before July 20, to be returned between July 21 and midnight, Aug. 2.

Households that do not receive a survey questionnaire in the mail will be able to link to the public survey through the county website at between July 23 and Aug. 2.

Survey results will be presented to the County Council in August or early September.

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