Chapter 8.11


8.11.010    District created – Determinations and findings.

8.11.020    Collection mandatory – Starting date.

8.11.030    Procedure to obtain exemption.

8.11.040    Enforcement – Civil penalty.

8.11.050    Governing body designated – Election.

8.11.060    Severability.

8.11.010 District created – Determinations and findings.

The Whatcom County solid waste recycling and collection district (the “district”) is hereby created to make solid waste and recycling collection mandatory in Whatcom County in furtherance of the objectives of the county’s plan. The district is formed, in part, in light of the formation of a solid waste disposal district pursuant to RCW Chapter 36.58 and Chapter 8.13. The county council has determined that the unincorporated areas of the county cannot meet their solid waste management objectives, including recycling goals, without the formation of a collection district. The recycling and collection district shall include all unincorporated areas except the Diablo/Newhalem area of Whatcom County and shall be implemented compatibly with cities and towns which require mandatory collection within their limits, all as provided in interlocal agreements executed with the county. All municipalities in the county have executed interlocal agreements with the county as shown in Appendix A of the ordinance codified in this chapter, which appendix is incorporated herein by reference.

The county council in forming the recycling and collection district determines and finds:

A. All residences and businesses within the county are beneficiaries of the county solid waste and recycling management program and receive substantial and essential public service by having available on a continuing and standby basis healthful, safe and reliable solid waste disposal facilities;

B. The county has experienced increasing health and safety problems due to improper handling of solid waste. These problems include but are not limited to air pollution, litter and possible groundwater contamination. Requiring that transportation and disposal of solid waste be performed by qualified providers of collection service in compliance with the law and regulations is necessary for the immediate protection of the public health-and safety;

C. The state has set waste reduction and recycling as the highest priorities in managing solid waste streams. In order to develop workable programs of waste reduction and recycling, the county and municipalities need mandatory collection to make curbside collection and other source separation feasible;

D. The cost of operating Whatcom County’s solid waste and recycling management program may be met in part by imposing an excise tax on the charges paid for solid waste collection by each residential dwelling and by each business or institution in the taxing district, as authorized by Chapter 8.13; and

E. Those who knowingly fail to comply with the requirements of this chapter shall be liable as provided below for a civil penalty and for related attorneys’ fees and costs in order to reduce the environmental degradation and public health risks associated with noncompliance. (Ord. 90-96 § 1).

8.11.020 Collection mandatory – Starting date.

Solid waste and recycling collection shall become mandatory for owners of all developed property within the recycling and collection district on a date which the county executive has certified for implementation of the mandatory collection program. Such date shall be determined by the county executive after consultation with staff of the solid waste division, who shall have consulted with haulers, concerning the administrative feasibility of implementation. Such date shall occur on the first day of a month, and shall not be sooner than the first day of the month following the approval of the ordinance codified in this chapter, nor later than one year following such approval. (Ord. 90-96 § 2).

8.11.030 Procedure to obtain exemption.

A. At least 60 days prior to the date of implementation of mandatory solid waste and recycling collection, the solid waste division shall provide reasonable notice to all residences and businesses that mandatory collection will be implemented. Such notice shall state how requests for exemption may be filed. Such notice shall be issued in coordination with certificated haulers.

B. Any person who wishes an exemption from the provisions or application of this chapter may file an affidavit with the solid waste manager which states substantively as follows:

I swear or affirm that I should be exempt from the requirements of universal recycling and solid waste collection because I am disposing of my waste in an environmentally sound way.

This affidavit is subject to periodic verification by the solid waste manager or his/her designee.

C. Within 30 days after implementation of mandatory collection, the solid waste manager shall provide a report to the county executive containing findings on the number of exemptions that have been requested, the grounds stated for such exemptions, and the actions taken on the requests. Within 60 days after implementation of mandatory collection, the county executive shall report the findings to the county council, together with any recommendations for further legislative action on exemptions which the county executive believes are appropriate. (Ord. 90-96 § 3).

8.11.040 Enforcement – Civil penalty.

A. If any residence, business, or institution, not otherwise exempt from mandatory collection, refuses to pay for such mandatory collection, the county may, upon the request of a certificated hauler, through the prosecuting attorney’s office commence appropriate action to enforce the provisions of this chapter. The prevailing party shall be entitled to an award of reasonable attorney’s fees and costs in any such action.

B. Any person who knowingly fails to subscribe to or pay for solid waste and recycling collection service without having obtained an exemption shall be liable in addition to actual damages, for a penalty to the county in an amount equal to any past due bill for solid waste and recycling collection service not to exceed $500.00, plus an additional penalty of not less than $100.00 nor more than $200.00 which shall not be suspended or deferred. (Ord. 90-96 § 4).

8.11.050 Governing body designated – Election.

The Whatcom County council shall be the governing body of the recycling and collection district. The electors of said district shall be all registered voters residing within the district. (Ord. 90-96 § 5).

8.11.060 Severability.

The invalidity or unenforceability of any portion of this chapter shall not affect the other provisions thereof, and this chapter shall be construed in all respects as if such invalid or unenforceable provision were omitted. (Ord. 90-96 § 6).