Scott Barden stands next to the pit that will house the newest, and possibly final, section of the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill near Maple Valley. The pit is 120 feet deep, and around another 180 feet will be built on top of it over the next decade. Aaron Kunkler/staff photo

Scott Barden stands next to the pit that will house the newest, and possibly final, section of the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill near Maple Valley. The pit is 120 feet deep, and around another 180 feet will be built on top of it over the next decade. Aaron Kunkler/staff photo

King County’s landfill is going to get bigger

A ninth cell will be built, extending its life by another decade.

King County’s last remaining landfill will get even larger after the county council voted on April 24 to extend the landfill’s life and expand it in a 5-2 vote.

The decision will create a ninth cell at the landfill, which will be filled with garbage at a cost of around $270 million. This option has been roundly opposed by neighbors who have continued to show up at King County Council meetings and who again voiced their concerns at the April 24 meeting.

Council members Reagan Dunn and Kathy Lambert both voted against the plan.

“I’m going to vote no today because I want to protest the monolithic pile of garbage,” Dunn said.

The plan also included provisions for county staff to complete a study identifying alternate ways to deal with the county’s trash, including shipping it to other landfills, creating a waste-to-energy plant and creating technology to break down the garbage in the landfill. Lambert, who has been an advocate for a waste-to-energy plant, voiced her unhappiness with the decision of the council.

“To plan anything other than the best in the world is just not good enough,” she said. “This plan does not do enough to respond to the neighbors around the landfill.”

Located near Maple Valley, the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill is the last remaining in King County and was created in the 1960s. The ninth cell will extend the life of the landfill well into the future, possibly up to 2040. A current eighth cell is being built and would have given the county until 2028 to find another way to deal with its trash.

King County generates roughly 1.3 million tons of waste annually. The council’s decision to increase capacity at the landfill could potentially put it in conflict with previous settlement agreements if it increases height to 830 feet above sea level in some places. It currently has a height limit of 788 feet.

Neighbors of the landfill have voiced concerns over increases in smells and garbage being dumped on their property by eagles, which pick at trash. One man showed up to multiple meetings with medical bags that he said contained blood and plasma bags dropped on his property by eagles.

Several amendments were also included in the measure. These include mandating the county make a good faith effort to keep the landfill at 788 feet above sea level, creating and implementing a bird management plan, and requiring a progress report on exploring alternate ways of disposing trash to be delivered to the council by the end of 2021.

More in News & Comment

“So-called science” debated in Snohomish County murder trial

Suspect William Talbott II of SeaTac says he did not kill a young Canadian couple in 1987.

Snohomish County is using the Seattle brand to lure tourists

“Seattle NorthCountry” means to conjure images of outdoor recreation, urbanscapes and rural vistas.

Vashon: An island of chill amid the Seattle-Tacoma rat race

With good food, craft beverages and a relaxed vibe, it offers a quintessential Northwest experience.

What’s next for Washington’s 2045 green energy goal?

The Legislature set the goal, but how does the state actually get there?

Tasting room proposal could redefine alcohol production in King County

Pilot program would benefit wineries, breweries and distilleries. Several farmers are concerned.

William Talbott II, left, listens as his public defender Jon Scott questions potential jurors at the Snohomish County Courthouse on Thursday, June 13, 2019 in Everett, Wash. Snohomish County sheriff’s detective Jim Scharf, right, listens from the prosecutor’s table. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Jury selected for 1987 cold case double murder trial

Opening statements are Friday in William Talbott’s trial for the killing of a young Canadian couple.

WSF cancels ferry sailings this week and next for repairs

Washington State Ferries will cancel several late-night sailings to make repairs at… Continue reading

Class in Everett school prepares students to be translators

A year in, the interpretation and translation course is seeing promising results for bilingual students.

In a 2015 report from the Washington State Department of Ecology, King County’s Cedar Hills Regional Landfill received 53,739 tons of of plastic bags and wrap from housing and commercial sources alone. File photo/Sound Publishing
No good solution to the plastics problem

Plastic is piling up everywhere from King County to ocean floors, and humans keep making more.

Most Read