UTC Connections

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July 2019

Recycling Rate Increases

Consumers in Washington are seeing more recycling rate increases as the result of international restrictions on processing U.S. recyclables.

In June, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission approved rate increases for two Washington solid waste companies serving King and Snohomish counties, allowing the companies to recover costs associated with residential and commercial recycling pick-ups and material processing. To learn more about recent recycling rate increases, click here.

Washington residents can help improve the efficiency of their recycling programs by making sure recyclable materials are empty, clean, and dry and by keeping items loose, not bagged, in the bin. When in doubt about whether an item is recyclable, residents should check local recycling guidelines. Putting prohibited items in recycling bins adds to the cost of recycling and reduces the value of other recyclables. For more information about recycling best practices, visit the Washington Department of Ecology’s tipsheet at https://ecology.wa.gov/recycleright.

We've Moved!

new building

The Utilities and Transportation Commission recently relocated to 621 Woodland Square Loop SE, Lacey, Washington.

This new building will help the commission meet its long-term goal to provide a safe, modern, and efficient work environment for its employees and improve access to the public and customers.

To learn more about the new UTC headquarters, click here.

Summer Savings

Temperatures are rising, but don’t let your utility bills rise with it! Keep your bill cool with these helpful tips:

  • Water early or late. Water gardens in the early morning or late evening so the water doesn't evaporate in the midday heat.
  • Fire up the grill. Grilling won’t heat up your kitchen, thereby forcing your air conditioning to work harder and use more energy.
  • Shorten your shower. Trimming two minutes off your shower can save up to 1,750 gallons of water per person in your household each year.
  • Keep it closed. While baking, resist the temptation to open the oven door. Each time it is opened, the temp drops 25-30 degrees.


It’s summer time, which means it’s time to get your outdoor projects done. Planning on digging a new garden? Or installing a fence in your yard? Pipelines and other underground utilities run just beneath the surface. Digging into these lines can be costly to repair and put you and your neighbors at risk. Save yourself the headache by calling 8-1-1 for a free underground utility locate before you break ground. Not only is it the law, but it can prevent you from damaging dangerous underground utilities and footing the expensive bill.

Calling 8-1-1 is easy! Just dial 8-1-1 from any phone at least two business days before your planned digging project. The notification center will ask for some basic information about the location of your project and then notify all of your local utility companies to come out and mark their underground utility lines and pipes within your planned dig area.

For more information, visit www.callbeforeyoudig.org

Rail Safety

Washington Operation Lifesaver wants you to stay safe around train tracks.


  • The only safe and legal place to cross a track is at a designated public crossing with a cross-buck, flashing red lights, or a gate. If you cross at any other place, you are trespassing and can be fined.
  • Do not cross tracks immediately after a train passes. Trains can come from either direction on a track. Wait until you can see clearly around the first train, in both directions, before crossing.
  • Trains can take a mile or more to stop, and locomotive engineers likely will be unable to stop in time—even if they see you.

For more information on train safety, click here

Follow Washington Operation Lifesaver on Twitter and Facebook.