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Cedar Grove makes initial response to odor complaints

EVERETT — The alleged source of an obnoxious odor that has been reaching Marysville since at least early in the summer, the Cedar Grove Composting Plant has submitted an initial report on its operations to the local clean air authority.

“They did a pretty good job of explaining their process and studying where odors might be coming from,” said Mario Pedroza, a supervising inspector for the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.

The agency has jurisdiction over air quality and related issues in the Puget Sound area.

Cedar Grove Vice President Gerry Bartlett said his company already has taken action to eliminate some possible odor sources at the Everett plant, though the company has not admitted that facility is the source of the stench reaching Marysville.

Among other steps, Bartlett said Cedar Grove has added a misting system to its grinding operation. Cedar Grove processes yard and food waste into compost. Pedroza and the clean air group claim the grinding operation is at least one source of the odor allegedly leaving the plant.

In fact, Pedroza cited Cedar Grove in August for odors allegedly traced directly to the company’s grinder. He also handed out a citation in connection with the company’s screening of its final product.

Besides the grinding operation, Bartlett talked about cleaning up the company’s leachate tank and keeping a closer eye on the materials that come into the plant.

Generally, leachate is polluted water runoff that is produced at any landfill, composting or similar operation.

According to Bartlett, the next step is face-to-face meetings between Cedar Grove and air agency officials. Pedroza agreed, but added the company has until the end of the year to produce a detailed report on what it will do to correct its alleged odor problems. He described the report turned in Sept. 30 as an overview of the company’s operations.

All in all, Cedar Grove agreed to look at seven specific steps in its composting process. These ranged from the grinding operation to what was described as the “general housekeeping” of the Smith Island facility.

The final report numbers 15 pages and as of early October, Pedroza said he had not had time to thoroughly review the document. He also said Cedar Grove was waiting for the results of some of the testing that was completed and its wasn’t clear when those results might be available. A quick review of the report shows the company outlined six potential sources of odor in its operations.

As for the odor problem itself, Pedroza said the number of complaints have dropped. Through the end of September, in north Everett, he said there were 11 complaints made to the agency that possibly were linked to Cedar Grove. He said numbers for Marysville were not readily available.

“The numbers are down, but the problem is not gone,” Pedroza said.

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