Community

Meeting focuses on composting

Craig Kenworthy, executive director of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, responds to questions from the public during an Aug. 30 meeting on composting and how it relates to the Cedar Grove composting facility in Everett.  - Lauren Salcedo
Craig Kenworthy, executive director of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, responds to questions from the public during an Aug. 30 meeting on composting and how it relates to the Cedar Grove composting facility in Everett.
— image credit: Lauren Salcedo

MARYSVILLE — Cedar Grove Composting was once again the center of discussion at a public meeting held Aug. 30 at the Boys & Girls Club, which aimed at offering information on how composting works and how enforcement agencies are reacting to odor complaints from local residents.

Dozens attended the meeting, which was hosted by Steven Gilbert and Shannon Robinson of the Institute of Neurotoxicology and Neurological Disorders, a nonprofit organization focused on researching toxic chemicals, as part of a public participation grant from the state Department of Ecology.

The meeting began with an introduction by Gilbert, which included facts on composting, chemicals, research studies and more.

"Our goal is to try to engage the public on discussing these issues and solutions," said Gilbert. "This is a public meeting to figure out what should be done."

Following Gilbert's presentation, a panel including Craig Kenworthy, executive director of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency; John Cleary, environmental engineer with the DOE; and Gilbert took questions from those in attendance.

"Last year we made our first attempt at trying to figure out this problem," said Cleary, who noted that the DOE has conducted a study on Cedar Grove that has yet to be released. "We see this as a growing statewide problem."

Kenworthy answered questions on how his agency has responded to complaints about Cedar Grove.

"We are working on a map that shows where these complaints originate," said Kenworthy. "You can tell where you are getting a lot of complaints."

Some attendees questioned how chemicals released during the composting process may affect the health of those living nearby.

"If my kids were sick or my neighbors were sick because of it, that is not okay," said one woman who attended the meeting. Gilbert confirmed that no health studies were conducted on the effects of odor and emissions from Cedar Grove Composting.

Karen Dawson, community outreach director for Cedar Grove, attended the meeting. "One thing I can reiterate is that Cedar Grove is committed to being a good neighbor," said Dawson. "The attendance at these meetings show odors as an issue of concern. Our presence shows that we also care about issues affecting Marysville residents."

Two Marysville residents, James and Gayle Moffat, also attended the meeting after having called in hundreds of odor complaints since moving to Marysville in 2009.

"My reason for coming is because I want to know what chemicals are coming out of Cedar Grove," said Gayle Moffat. "I wanted to know if they are looking into the health effects and are neighbors feeling those effects?"

James Moffat agreed, and felt that the solution may be a simple one.

"They know there are effective models for these facilities and they should copy it outright," he said. "It just shouldn't be allowed to stink."

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