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Sunnyside farm inks county contract to process waste, debris

YAKIMA - Waste from septic tanks in Yakima County will fly away, literally, under a contract Yakima County signed yesterday with Natural Selection Farms of Sunnyside.

The deal approved Tuesday by Yakima County commissioners will pay Natural Selection Farms $9.51 per ton to process septic waste the county receives from individual septic tanks.

Ted Durfey of Natural Selection Farms said his firm will process the septic waste and spread it on land at the Cheyne landfill near Zillah. He said the material will serve as nutrient to grow camelina on the landfill property.

Oil from the camelina seeds will eventually be used for U.S. Navy jet fuel, Durfey said.

"It's a new process we've started during the past year," Durfey said of converting camelina oil into jet fuel. He said Natural Selection Farms grows and crushes the camelina seed, then sends the oil to Sustainable Systems of Bozeman, Mont.

In another portion of the contract signed yesterday, Natural Selection Farms will be paid $15.36 per ton to receive chipped yard debris from the Cheyne and Terrace Heights landfills.

Durfey said the yard waste was previously going back into county landfills, but will now instead be recycled into organic material for composting.

The county receives about 14,000 to 17,000 tons each year of yard debris.

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