Septic pumper WTS stopped receiving septage in early December; now taking only landfill runoff

Under a deadline to file for a conditional use permit or face daily fines, Water Truck Service (WTS) decided to pull the plug. On Nov 30, WTS notified the city and SAN that they would stop trucking and disposing septage — human waste from septic tanks — at their site at NE 89th and Killingsworth on Dec 2.

Instead, WTS said they would limit their activity to processing ‘leachate,’ which is runoff from landfills. Activity has ramped down sharply, but even so some nearby residents have reported noise and garbage odors since Dec 2 when WTS is active.

WTS wide shot
Caption: A short truck backed into a pumping bay at WTS, as viewed from NE 89th in June 2011

On Feb 1, new WTS site manager Jamie Hartley, called to request that his number be shared with all our neighbors, so everyone can contact him with concerns, questions and complaints. His number will be included in winter 2012 newsletter coming out in the next week or two.

WTS is based in Sherwood. They opened here in spring 2010. Noise and chronic odor issues — nuisances under city code — were noted by neighbors from early on. Two residents asked SAN for help at our June 2011 meeting. WTS was fined on Aug 27 for violation of land use laws, and completed a conference with the city on Oct 20 in preparation for the required conditional use permit. The tough compliance requirements for the permit — including traffic, setbacks, noise, odor and enclosed space for loading and unloading waste — led to the decision by WTS on Nov 30 to stop pumping septage in Sumner.

Despite these big positive steps, homework remains to see if leachate is also considered ‘waste-related’ under the city zoning code. Any waste-related use at the site requires the same conditional use permit.

For more background, see:

For a video report by local TV reporter Ed Teachout on KGW, see their report.

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