2 grants could make Tacoma public works more eco-friendly

The City of Tacoma’s public works operations could soon become a little greener.

Tacoma is poised this week to receive grants totaling $412,500 from the Washington State Department of Ecology to fund two eco-friendly projects.

The first grant, totaling $75,000, will allow city staff to evaluate the feasibility of establishing additional composting and anaerobic digestion capacity. According to city officials, the lack of sufficient capacity has slowed the city’s ability to divert more organics from the waste stream and to generate energy from that organic material. This study will show whether it will be financially and environmentally feasible for the city to build a facility to meet these needs.

The second grant, totaling $337,500, will allow Tacoma’s asphalt plant to utilize recycled asphalt roofing shingles and asphalt pavement material in the production of new asphalt for city street resurfacing and repair. The most recent waste audit showed over 2,100 tons of asphalt shingles and 32,000 tons of food and other organic waste were disposed of in 2009, according to city staff. The grant will pay for the needed equipment and a portion of the related installation and design costs.

Both grants require Tacoma to contribute $137,500 in matching funds from its public works budget.

Tacoma City Council is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a resolution to accept the grants during its meeting on Tues., Nov. 6 at 5 p.m. in City Council Chambers on the first floor of the Tacoma Municipal Building, located 747 Market Street. The agenda and meeting materials are available online here. Meetings are streamed live online at tvtacoma.com and broadcast live on TV Tacoma.