Investigation alleges that companies violated the county’s waste-disposal code.
An investigation conducted by a group of government officials in Snohomish County, Wash., has alleged that two recycling companies operating in the county committed multiple violations of the county’s waste-disposal code.
The investigation, which ran for more than one year, was conducted by Snohomish County’s Solid Waste Division, the county Sheriff’s Office and the county Prosecuting Attorney’s office. The two companies face fines of $1.8 million.
The three departments spent more than a year investigating allegations that United Recycling and Maltby Container and Recycling routinely disposed of waste outside of Snohomish County – a violation of Snohomish County Code, which requires all trash and recycling generated within Snohomish County also be disposed of there.
According to the Snohomish County Solid Waste Division, the potential penalties against United Recycling could be as high as $800,000, while Maltby Container and Recycling, which has two previous violations, could be fined as much as $1 million.
“Snohomish County’s rules governing waste disposal help maintain the lowest fees for all of our customers,” says Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon. “When violators skirt those laws, it negatively impacts the fees our law-abiding customers pay.”
According to a Snohomish County press release, documents obtained from a Superior Court search warrant on a landfill in Cowlitz County, Wash., show United Recycling transported 279 tractor-trailer loads of solid waste outside Snohomish County for disposal between June 2011 and June 2012.
Another search warrant served on a landfill in Yakima County found Maltby Container and Recycling transported 342 tractor-trailer loads of solid waste outside Snohomish County between January 2011 and July 2012. In each case, on average, nearly one truckload a day was illegally taken to another landfill.
“Maintaining flow control over solid waste keeps a level playing field for everyone – from residents to local businesses,” says Snohomish County Solid Waste Director Matt Zybas.
“Waste that’s created in this county needs to be disposed of in this county.” Snohomish County’s solid-waste disposal facilities are paid for solely by user fees. They do not receive funding from local taxes. Fees are based on the amount of waste generated, so when a company evades the rules, it increases the cost to residents and businesses following county code.”