Cedar Grove Composting Fined $119,000 for Failing to Control Odor at Everett Facility

July 18, 2011

Everett, Everett Government

PSCAA fine against Cedar Grove reduced 50k

Fine had been $169,000 but was reduced 50K.

The Pollution Control Hearings Board has upheld a decision by the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency to fine the Cedar Grove Composting Company for failing to control odors from their Everett facility. I first wrote about this on April 22nd when the Mayor of Marysville and Chair of the Tulalip Tribes presented a letter to the Everett City Council. Here’s an excerpt from their decision…

In the present case, the Board notes that there have been a large number of odor complaints associated with Cedar Grove’s composting facilities. The odors emanating from the facilities have interfered with the reasonable enjoyment of life and property of a large number of surrounding residents. In that regard, the violations are serious, and have been ongoing and repetitive. Cedar Grove’s responsiveness to the odor problem has been somewhat mixed. Cedar Grove has at some points in time denied responsibility for the odors, directed responsibility towards other businesses, and been non-responsive to the NOVs issued by PSCAA. On the other hand, Cedar Grove has investigated available technology options and operational changes, and has made considerable capital and operational investments to try to reduce odors from its facilities. The purpose of a penalty is to influence behavior, encourage compliance, and deter future violations. Although Cedar Grove expressed reservations about whether it was really the source of many of these odors, it still has moved forward in good faith to address these odor concerns. Although Cedar Grove’s responsiveness has been mixed, the Board concludes that PSCAA erred by attributing such a large part of the combined penalty to the non-responsiveness of Cedar Grove. The Board concludes it is appropriate under these circumstances to reduce the amount of the penalty by $50,000.


The Board AFFIRMS the penalties issued by the PSCAA, but REDUCES the overall penalty amount from $169,000 to $119,000.

Now that summer may actually be here and the sun may come out for several days at a time it will be interesting to see if the people in Marysville who had been complaining about the odors will find the smell increasing. If so, you better believe that any group with the name Citizens for a Smell Free Snohomish County, will be back in front of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. If you’d like to read the entire decision you can find it here.
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