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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Fireplace, woodstove use OK; burn ban lifted

December 9, 2009

UPDATED — 2:55 p.m. Dec. 13, 2009

Go ahead, light a crackling fire to combat the brutal cold. A burn ban for all wood-burning fireplaces and devices was lifted Sunday morning.

Puget Sound Clean Air Agency officials lifted the ban after air quality improved.

The agency enacted the first burn ban of the winter heating season Wednesday. The ban included King, Kitsap and Pierce counties, and was enacted because cold weather conditions and increased fireplace use created unhealthy pollution levels for young children, seniors and people with heart and lung problems, officials said.

During the Stage 2 burn ban, no burning is allowed in any wood-burning fireplaces, woodstoves, fireplace inserts or pellet stoves unless the sources provide the only available heat source.

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Fire roars through woodpile at Cedar Grove Composting

August 18, 2009

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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

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.

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

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Ozone pollution, caused by persistent heat this week, may create health risks

July 29, 2009

NEW — 2:20 p.m. July 28, 2009

Persistent high temperatures are raising ozone pollution in the greater-Seattle area and increasing health risks for sensitive populations, including children, teens, the elderly, people living with COPD, asthma or other lung disease, and people who work outdoors.

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency announced today that air quality is expected to reach the “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups,” or orange category, for some locations in King County. The American Lung Association in Washington is asking residents to take precautions and limit their exposure to unhealthy levels of air pollution.

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Burn ban issued for county

January 19, 2009

NEW — 1:10 p.m. Jan. 19, 2008

With increased air pollution and stagnant weather due to little or no wind, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency issued a Stage 2 burn ban Monday for King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties.

During a Stage 2 burn ban, burning is not allowed in fireplaces, wood stoves, fireplace inserts or pellet stoves unless these are the only source of adequate heat for the household (homes that cannot maintain 70 degrees at a point three feet above the floor). In addition, all outdoor burning is prohibited.

The ban is expected to last until Thursday. Penalties for a violation of a burn ban start at $1,000. Read more

School district undeveloped land contaminated by lead, mercury; Clark, IHS not affected

December 8, 2008

New soil tests of the Issaquah School District’s 1.8-acre undeveloped property east of Clark Elementary School show high levels of contaminants, like lead, chromium and mercury.

But the district is in compliance with state regulations regarding the contaminated soils on the property, which is also adjacent to Issaquah High School.

District officials conducted the latest round of tests on the property, about 200 yards from Clark, after community members expressed concerns that children there and at Issaquah High are being exposed to lead.

“Anytime we receive concerns about any part of our operations, we take actions to address the issues and respond to whatever is required of us,” said Steve Crawford, director of capital projects for the district.

Similarly, there were questions regarding the district’s asbestos removal records at Clark. However, district officials are in full compliance with state and federal asbestos regulations, as indicated by the most recent asbestos inspection, in August 2006. The inspections are conducted every three years.

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Two strong candidates, including incumbent, vie for lands commissioner

October 7, 2008

As the November election approaches, voters have a multitude of candidates and issues to ponder. From a ballot proposal for a new fire station to the race for governor, the choices are clear and the outcomes will be important. Read more

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