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Composting facilities focus of meeting in Marysville

From left, Mike Davis, founder of ‘Citizens for a Smell-Free Marysville,’ speaks with state Rep. Hans Dunshee Oct. 12 after hearing from the state Department of Ecology on their rule-making process. - Kirk Boxleitner
From left, Mike Davis, founder of ‘Citizens for a Smell-Free Marysville,’ speaks with state Rep. Hans Dunshee Oct. 12 after hearing from the state Department of Ecology on their rule-making process.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — Members of the “Citizens for a Smell-Free Marysville” were able to meet with representatives of the state Department of Ecology in Marysville City Hall Oct. 12 to discuss how composting facilities such as Cedar Grove on Smith Island are regulated.

State Rep. Hans Dunshee served as an informal moderator of the event, which was also attended by Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring and Chief Administrative Officer Gloria Hirashima.

Laurie Davies, program manager for solid waste and financial assistance with the DOE, explained that the DOE itself has no direct regulatory authority, and that permitting, enforcement and appeals fall under the local health departments.

The Washington Administrative Code and the Revised Code of Washington each impact how composting facilities are operated and managed. According to Peter Christiansen, section manager for solid waste and financial assistance, the RCW comes from the Legislature and is more overarching, while the WAC attempts to spell out the rules more specifically, based on interpretations of the law’s intent. Davies noted that the first informal comment period for identifying issues with WAC 173-350 has already begun, and is set to run through Nov. 15.

When Christiansen pointed out that the current rules do not require public hearings as part of the solid waste permitting process, Davies added that such hearings could be suggested during the comment period. Kathi Scanlan, also of solid waste and financial assistance, elaborated that draft rule workshops are planned for next summer, as part of a second informal comment period, to offer an opportunity to comment on the rules as revised since the first comment period.

A series of formal public hearings are set to follow in the fall of 2011, at various locations throughout the state. Davies anticipated that at least one hearing would be held near the Marysville-Everett area, while Christiansen directed those who are interested to sign up for the Solid Waste Handling LISTSERV to receive further information and updates via e-mail, as well as provide input without attending meetings.

For more information on WAC 173-350, you can log onto www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/swfa/rules/rule350.html. For more information about the rule process, you can contact DOE Rule and Policy Specialist Kathleen Scalan by phone at at 360-407-6559, or via e-mail at kathleen.scanlan@ecy.wa.gov.

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