City of Everett Sues Kimberly-Clark Over Gravel Instead of Grass

August 26, 2014

Everett, Everett Government

On Monday, the City of Everett filed a lawsuit against Kimberly-Clark for failing to cover the area that formerly contained a pulp mill and paper processing plant with grass or ground cover as provided in its demolition permit. Here’s the information as provided by city spokesperson Meghan Pembroke…

Kimberly-Clark site

The City of Everett would like green grass here. (click photos to enlarge)

K-C site

K-C propertThe City of Everett today filed a lawsuit in Snohomish County Superior Court seeking a judicial order requiring Kimberly-Clark to cover its now-closed mill site on the Everett waterfront to help protect the surrounding community and environment.


When Kimberly-Clark proposed demolishing the buildings at the former mill, the company specified in its environmental checklist and proposed demolition drawings that once demolition was complete the site would be covered with 12 inches of topsoil and hydroseeded or, as an alternative, 12 inches of clean granular material. The purpose of the cover is to limit erosion and impacts to surface water and groundwater, and to stop potentially hazardous dust from leaving the site.


The City issued a demolition permit to Kimberly-Clark in 2012 based, in part, on the company’s representation that it would install the site cover once demolition was complete. The City granted a two-month extension to the original deadline of April 15, 2014, to accommodate the company’s cleanup efforts. Unfortunately, Kimberly-Clark to date has chosen not to install the cover that it previously committed to in the permit application. Further, Kimberly-Clark failed to comply with the Shoreline Management Act through the filling and placement of concrete demolition debris within 200 feet of the East Waterway.


The City has repeatedly communicated its concern about the lack of cover at the site, and significant dust emissions from the site during demolition only increased the City’s concern. Soils at the site, including the remains of the demolished buildings, which have been spread across the site, contain hazardous substances, including arsenic, lead and cadmium. The City is concerned that dust from the site could contain these and other hazardous substances, potentially exposing people and the environment in the vicinity. The City’s preference is that the site’s cover consists of 12 inches of topsoil and is hydroseeded.


Because Kimberly-Clark has refused to install the cover that it previously committed to in its permit application, the City’s lawsuit seeks a judicial order requiring Kimberly-Clark to comply with the law, and install the required cover at the site as soon as possible.

Editor’s note: A message left for Kimberly-Clark spokesman Bob Brand asking for comment has not been returned.

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