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County may close drop boxes in Mattawa, Coulee City

by EMRY DINMAN
Staff Writer | November 18, 2020 1:00 AM

GRANT COUNTY — Residents of the Mattawa or Coulee City areas soon may have to subscribe to curbside trash service or travel farther to dispose of their garbage, after the county Solid Waste Advisory Committee’s recent recommendation to close trash “drop boxes” in those communities.

The county-operated drop boxes have been a place for area residents to dispose of their garbage, where it will then be transported to the county landfill in Ephrata. When they were originally erected, there were a dozen throughout the county. Now, there are only two: one in Mattawa and one in Coulee City.

So, the SWAC is recommending those last locations be closed, saying that residents can access regular curbside garbage service.

“The reason those others (drop boxes) have been closed is that curbside pickup is available,” said Sam Castro, Grant County public works director.

But some residents of the affected communities are distressed by the recommendation that was made by a board with only one member who lives in south Grant County, said Lars Leland, director of the Port of Mattawa.

“Everyone around here uses it,” Leland said. “There’s a big need for garbage service here.”

The SWAC had previously suggested that if communities were to retain their drop boxes, the county would need to raise the dumping fee for those locations, a proposal that has gotten support in the community, Leland said.

However, the SWAC recently made its recommendation to the county commissioners to close the locations. If the county commission approves the closure, the change would go into effect March 1, though the subject is not expected to come before the commission for at least three weeks.

Leland said the port district was looking at alternative options for waste management for south county residents, but that no plans have been solidified.

Emry Dinman can be reached via email at edinman@columbiabasinherald.com.