STANWOOD — City leaders are updating local rules after a proposal to build a privately operated waste treatment plant in town caused concern late last year.
Two businessmen from Camano Island submitted an application to build the McDay Septage Receiving Plant and Biosolids Processing Facility. It would treat waste from private septic tanks, and would be located north of Highway 532 off of 84th Avenue NW.
Many people expressed concerns about the plan, particularly about placing such an operation in the Stillaguamish River floodplain and close to downtown businesses. The applicants said they researched issues such as odor and safety.
Now, code updates are in the works. Previously, the city code dealt with sewage treatment plants but did not separately discuss septage. For the purposes of the McDay application, the code was interpreted to include septage under the umbrella of sewage. The difference is that sewage comes from a connected sewer system, whereas septage comes from septic tanks. Both contain human waste.
After a public hearing last week, the Stanwood Planning Commission is recommending that the city’s code be updated to prohibit privately owned sewage plants and any septage plants, private or public, said Ryan Larsen, community development director. Only publicly owned sewage treatment plants would be allowed in Stanwood. That recommendation is set to go to the City Council for a vote later this month.
The changes would impact future applications. They do not retroactively apply to the McDay project, which will be considered under the rules that were in effect at the time the application was received, Larsen said.
City planners requested additional information from the applicants in late 2016 in order to continue processing their proposal. As of last week, Larsen said the city had not yet received a response. There is no time limit.
“I have not heard from them in months,” Larsen said. “There’s a whole list of stuff that they needed to do.”
The applicants, James McCafferty and Greg Gilday, did not comment about the proposed changes to city code. They still are pursuing development of the property off 84th, McCafferty said in an email. The goal is to bring jobs to the Stanwood-Camano community, he said.
Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; firstname.lastname@example.org.