Commissioners identify waste, tracks where it goes

You only had to look at the agenda of Tuesday’s county commissioners meeting for proof of waste in government:

Bid Award 2557: Annual Portable Toilet Cleaning Service.

Well, $26,864 to handle public waste in county parks, anyway.

It’s one of the most important contracts the county has, said Commissioner Tom Mielke, in a tone that implied he was kidding but at the same time knows that when the public goes to a county park and nature calls, well, there’d better be someplace relatively clean to go.

Commissioner Marc Boldt did have a question for Public Works Director Pete Capell.

“I don’t want to get too graphic here,” Boldt started, before asking what exactly the company, United Site Services of Tacoma, does with what it collects and if it pays the appropriate tipping fees.

Mielke wondered if the company charges by the “truckload” or the “gallon.”

(At this point, I really started paying attention. What is, I wondered, the official unit of measurement?)

It’s measured by a “unit,” clarified purchasing manager Mike Westerman. (I still didn’t know what Westerman meant, so I later asked how a “unit” is measured. A “unit” is simply a “unit,” as in a portable toilet, he said. Oh.)

Anyway, Boldt had his question, and Capell got an answer.

Capell sent the following email to commissioners:

I contacted United Site Services about the disposal of the waste. The waste is hauled to their facility in Clackamas County and pumped into a disposal tank. At this location, the tank is emptied by a separate organization that treats the material and applies it at a pig farm in Clackamas County. The operation is permitted by the Department of Environmental Quality.

They indicated that they haul their waste material in the Tacoma area to a Wastewater Treatment Plant.

After talking to him, I am going to order something other than a BLT for lunch.


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