Sometimes Being Green Smells Like Rotting Garbage

Have you ever wondered how the incredibly stinky food waste that you turn over to the authorities each week for composting magically loses its terrible odor as it embarks on its journey to mulchhood? The answer is that it doesn't, at least not right away.

The people of Marysville and north Everett could tell you all about this. Living as they do near a facility that handles much of Snohomish County's municipally collected yard and food waste, they have become reluctant experts in the field of terrible rotting food odors.

As a result, they have waged war against Cedar Grove Composting, the company that handles all of Snohomish County's compost-to-be. And yesterday they won an important battle, with the state's Pollution Control Hearings Board upholding a fine levied against the company by the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency for 17 violations dating from 2009 and 2010. The board knocked $50,000 off the $169,000 fine in recognition of the several million dollars Cedar Grove has poured in to the (evidently unsuccessful) attempt to rein in the stench.

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It may not be beautiful, but it sure smells bad.
As The Daily Herald tells it, the case against Cedar Grove is strong.

[I]nvestigators visited the homes of the people who complained and smelled the stink themselves. They traced the same odor back to Cedar Grove, stopping to rule out other potential sources of odor.

In its ruling, the board found that "the violations are serious, and have been ongoing and repetitive," and that "Cedar Grove has at some points in time denied responsibility for the odors, directed responsibility towards other businesses, and been non-responsive to the Notices of Violation issued by PSCAA."

According to the Herald, the war is not yet over. Cedar Grove plans to appeal.

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