Steve Vrchota with Pope/Douglas Solid Waste Management. (Photo: Marshall Hoffman)

The Stevens County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution at their meeting yesterday supporting a Capital Assistance Program grant for Pope/Douglas Solid Waste to create a unified waste recovery and recycling system at their Alexandria facility that would upgrade their operation and make it viable for the next 30 years. The Solid Waste operations’ Steve Vrchota told the Board that their Household Waste and Recycling Center is seeing 36,000 customers a year in a space that was designed for a couple of thousand.

“We’re basically outgrowing our current facilities,” said Vrchota. “I came into this position about two and a half years ago and our County Board from Pope and Douglas said, ‘How do we keep this facility running for the next 30 years?’ Basically, they asked me to put a plan together and ‘How do we fund it? How do we make that happen?’ Part of that is to be able to get some CAP money to be able to make the system whole again and be able to run for another 30 years.”

Their waste operations serve seven counties. They are also seeking support for a regional organics composting facility that would serve the five county area. The projected cost for the upgrades is $18.9 million, which would include $8 million in state aid. Vrchota said the Governor’s office has been supportive of the project and has put it as one of their top two projects in the state to fund.

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