Tumwater's looking at steps for a future composting program


Tumwater’s public works committee recommended to the city council an ordinance outlining a compost procurement policy as required by HB 1799 during a meeting held  November 17.

Sustainability coordinator Alyssa Jones Wood explained that the law, which was passed this year, requires cities and counties with a population above 25,000 to develop a compost procurement ordinance and implement it by January 1 next year.

The proposed ordinance directs the cities’ water sources and sustainability director to adopt a policy requiring the use of compost products in city-funded projects in which the use of compost is appropriate, such as when compost can be used for landscaping, construction, soil amendments, erosion prevention, and filtering of stormwater runoff.

The ordinance requires the city to purchase compost products from nationally-certified companies and eventually produce its own compost through the city’s solid waste compost program.

Wood said that projects requiring the use of compost shall conform to relevant rules and policies such as Tumwater’s municipal code, development guide, and drainage design and erosion control manual.

In case of any variance, city departments are required to submit for review and approval by the water resources and sustainability departments director.

“One of the examples of a project that wouldn't really work for this is if we're doing something with stormwater adjacent to a water body that's sensitive to phosphorus,” Wood said. “Compost is not really permitted in that way because we don't want to add phosphorus to an ecosystem that's sensitive to it.”

The Revised Code of Washington also allows for the exemption of using compost in various scenarios, such as when it is not available within a reasonable amount of time or if the procurement of compost is excessively expensive or not reasonably competitive.

Wood assured that they already have a list of compost-producing facilities they can contact.

The proposed ordinance also states that Tumwater shall conduct educational outreach to inform residents how the city plans to use compost and to educate them on the value of composting.


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  • Southsoundguy

    What a ridiculous law. Ignore it.

    Wednesday, November 23, 2022 Report this