King County picks plan to keep landfill open for another decade

August 31, 2010

Cedar Hills Regional Landfill could remain open until the mid-2020s under a proposed plan, even as other factors — such as increased recycling and a feeble economy — stretch the number of years the landfill could operate.

The proposal to increase capacity at the giant landfill has inched ahead, after King County Solid Waste Division leaders spent 16 months addressing concerns about the project as part of a required environmental analysis.

Nearby homeowners raised concerns about odors, noise, storm water runoff, ground water contamination and traffic, plus potential impacts on flora and fauna.

Solid Waste Division leaders released the detailed analysis, or environmental impact statement, of the expansion proposals in late July.

The landfill encompasses 920 acres in unincorporated King County between Issaquah and Maple Valley.

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South Issaquah residents seek relief from odors

May 25, 2010

Air quality officials seek comments

Fed up with odors wafting from nearby Cedar Grove Composting, residents in the Four Lakes neighborhood south of Issaquah asked the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency to do something about the smell.

Now, as the air quality agency considers a permit for the composting facility, Four Lakes leaders want community members to offer input.

The agency wants to consolidate five permits for projects dating to 1993 into a single permit. The permit requires, for instance, Cedar Grove to filter air and handle waste inside enclosed spaces. In some cases, the company has already taken steps called for in the proposal.

The draft permit does not allow for production increases or changes to the way the facility operates.

Puget Sound Clean Air Agency officials will accept comments on the proposal until June 15. The agency will also hold a community meeting June 3 at Maple Hills Elementary School.

Cedar Grove turns food scraps and yard waste from more than 500,000 households in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties into compost at the Maple Valley facility.

The agency has received almost 8,000 complaints about the facility since 1988, with most of the complaints related to odor. Downwind residents reported burning eyes and throats as a result of the stench.

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Free sustainability movie series continues with “Addicted to Plastic”

November 7, 2009

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 7, 2009

A series of free movie nights with films about sustainability will continue Nov. 10 with the documentary “Addicted to Plastic.”

The documentary will be shown at 6:30 p.m. at the King County Library Service Center Community Room, 960 Newport Way N.W. City officials said the event aims to educate the community about plastics, the effects of plastics on the environment and human health, and the plastics industry.

A panel of experts will lead a discussion on plastics and other related environmental issues after the movie. Information about eco-friendly programs, as well as refreshments provided by Cedar Grove Composting, will also be available to attendees. Organizers will give away door prizes after the film.

The free movie nights are presented by the city Resource Conservation Office and paid for through a grant from the King County Local Hazardous Waste Management Program.

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Plan ahead for reduced Metro holiday service

November 3, 2009

Plan ahead for reduced Metro holiday service

King County Metro buses will operate on a reduced weekday schedule on several holidays — from Veterans Day until early January. The transit agency will also operate on a full week of reduced service at the end of December.

The reductions are planned for holiday stretches when Metro historically sees 20 percent to 40 percent fewer weekday riders. Metro will operate on a Sunday schedule on several upcoming legal holidays. The reduced weekday schedule will be in effect on:

Nov. 11, Veterans Day

Nov. 27, the day after Thanksgiving

Dec. 24, Christmas Eve

Dec. 28-31, the winter holiday period and New Year’s Eve

Jan. 18, 2010, Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Metro will operate on a Sunday schedule on the following holidays:

Nov. 26, Thanksgiving

Dec. 25, Christmas

Jan. 1, 2010, New Year’s Day

On weekdays with reduced schedules, some commuter and school-oriented routes do not operate, and other routes will have trips canceled. Many routes will have no changes. Regular fares apply in most cases. View a complete overview of all Metro holiday service at holiday-service.html.

The reduced weekday schedule was used on a limited basis last winter. The plan features more bus service than weekend schedules, but less service than a normal weekday.

Development rights swap will protect Issaquah Creek Basin

The developer of a Front Street North condominium complex will be allowed to build more parking after paying to protect sensitive land related to the Lower Issaquah Valley Aquifer.

The final document related to the process, known as a transfer of development rights, was recorded Oct. 9 with King County.

Arrington Place Condominiums purchased the transfer of development rights to add 1,000 additional square feet of impervious surface for up to five more parking spaces at the complex, 700 Front St. N. The developer needed the additional parking as crews convert the remaining seven apartments into condos.

The purchase of development rights requires a conservation easement to be placed on five acres of developable land. The land serves as a recharge area for the aquifer, a key source of drinking water for Issaquah residents. Because the land has high value as habitat, King County designated the land as a “sending site.” The “receiving site” of the development rights was the condo complex. The conservation easement prevents development on the land forever.

The transfer of development rights was the first from a “sending site” in unincorporated King County to Issaquah. The deal was part of a city-county interlocal agreement approved in February 2007. The agreement provides for 75 transfers of development rights to be sent from environmentally-sensitive-yet-developable areas in the creek basin to be protected by sending the rights to receiving sites in Issaquah.

Salmon Days reels in tons of compostables, recyclables

Salmon Days Festival volunteers diverted 2.8 tons of food waste and compostable cups, bowls, plates and utensils from the landfill. The refuse was sent to Cedar Grove Composting instead.

An additional 1.4 tons of bottles, cans, cardboard and other materials were recycled after the fish-centric festival.

Festival organizers partnered with Cedar Grove, Waste Management, Food Services of America, Kenco, AtWork! and the city Resource Conservation Office to improve the already-impressive environmental record of the festival. Salmon Days is one of the first major festivals to use compostable serviceware.

Salmon Days, held during the sun-splashed Oct. 3-4 weekend, lured more than 180,000 visitors to Issaquah for arts, crafts, food and a chance to watch chinook and coho salmon swim upstream from the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery.

New food bank Web site aims to increase donations

Donors can give to the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank through a new Web site designed to make it easier for the food bank to raise money and collect donations in tough times.

The site, at, opens with “Don’t let your neighbors go hungry tonight.”

The site explains how potential donors can give nonperishable food items, as well as clothing, and donate money. The site is updated with lists of needed items. Organizers are in need of clothing for children and infants as winter approaches. Bring items to the food bank, 179 First Ave. S.E.

Visitors to the site can also donate online, and learn how to volunteer with the organization.

Mark Mullet, a member of the food bank board, spearheaded the Web site project, and paid for a Web developer out of his own pocket to develop the updated site. Mullet was expected to be elected to the City Council unopposed Nov. 3.

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Fire roars through woodpile at Cedar Grove Composting

August 18, 2009


A compost fire at Cedar Grove Composting Aug. 17 is fought by a stream of water from a tank truck. Maple Valley Fire Department tankers, company trucks, bulldozers and backhoes also attacked the fire. By Greg Farrar

A fire at Cedar Grove Composting sent smoke billowing into the air early Aug. 17 as crews worked to contain a blaze that began in a woodpile.

Though firefighters quickly contained the blaze at the composting facility south of Issaquah, authorities said the heap could smolder for hours after flames were doused.

Maple Valley Fire & Life Safety crews responded to a report of a fire at about 5:45 a.m. Flames engulfed a compost pile and sent smoke billowing into the air. Firefighters contained the blaze within 45 minutes while news helicopters hovered overhead.

Maple Valley Fire Chief Larry Rude said the blaze was “very, very well contained” by 9:30 a.m.

Crews sealed the smoldering area beneath dirt and compost to starve the flames of oxygen. Rude said light winds and quick action by Cedar Grove employees prevented the fire from spreading. Read more

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Cedar Grove Composting fire began in woodpile

August 17, 2009

UPDATED — 10:35 a.m. Aug. 18, 2009

Firefighters contained a blaze at a Cedar Grove Composting woodpile early Monday morning. Authorities monitored air quality near the facility south of Issaquah.

Maple Valley Fire & Life Safety Chief Larry Rude said the blaze was “very, very well contained” by 9:30 a.m. Monday.

Maple Valley fire crews responded to a report of a fire at about 5:45 a.m. Flames engulfed a woodpile and sent smoke billowing into the air. Firefighters contained the blaze within 45 minutes, while news helicopters hovered overhead.

By 9:30 a.m., crews were sealing the smoldering area with dirt and compost to starve the flames of oxygen. Rude said light winds and quick action by Cedar Grove employees prevented the fire from spreading.


Crews are monitoring a smoldering compost heap at Cedar Grove Composting. — By Greg Farrar

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City hosts free sustainability movie night

July 21, 2009

On July 22, city officials are hosting a free movie night in which the documentary “King Corn” will play. This is the third film that the city has had this year on sustainability. The aim of these quarterly movie nights is for local residents to become aware of ways to help sustain and maintain the environment around them. Read more

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Zero-energy home features a living wall of compost

January 12, 2009

The first row of the 18-inch compost-filled sock is installed. ContributedThe first row of the 18-inch compost-filled sock is installed. Contributed

Donna Shirey, like many people, often wondered what happened to all that stuff that gets recycled, particularly the garbage, lawn trimmings and other miscellaneous mulch.

“Well, you can sell some to the Shirey house and build a living wall with it,” she said.

As president and CEO of the Issaquah business Shirey Contracting, Donna and her husband Riley have long been advocates of “green” building. They discovered the services of Cedar Grove Composting fit nicely into their concept for a “zero energy” house. Read more

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