Rock slide knocks community's burn pit out of service

The community’s burn pit at the solid waste transfer station on the north end of the island is closed until further notice after a rockslide Friday morning, Oct. 6, destroyed the steel racks, I-beams and concrete blocks at the facility.

“Due to concerns with stability of the cliffside, and the need to rebuild the burn pit, wood waste, brush and large burnables will not be accepted until further notice,” said a borough notice issued on Friday. “The area around the burn pit has been barricaded off and is off-limits to the public.”

Though the waste transfer station is closed to larger burnable items, it will continue to accept paper and cardboard, the notice said.

The slide started small, but grew.

“Some smaller rocks started coming down, so it was pretty apparent that something was going on there,” Public Works Director Tom Wetor told KSTK. Larger rocks came down about 9:30 a.m.

“A pretty good amount of rock did come down and took out our entire burn racks, the concrete blocks and the steel racks and I-beams and everything that we have there. All of that was completely destroyed,” Wetor told the radio station.

“Right now, things are pretty unstable there. And I think we need to give it some space and let it do its thing,” he added.

No one was injured.

“We’re going to try to salvage what materials we can try to rebuild what we can,” Wetor said. “We’ll probably rebuild the burn pit more toward the closed landfill … where the cliffside isn’t quite as high and the rock appears to be more stable.”

The borough burns what it can safely and within environmental rules, but most of the community’s trash gets baled up, stuffed into containers and shipped out of town by barge and then rail to a landfill in eastern Washington state.


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