Cedar Grove cited for June odor violations

Photo by SCOTT LEARN/THE OREGONIAN

Photo by SCOTT LEARN/THE OREGONIAN

By KIRK BOXLEITNER
Marysville Globe Reporter
JULY 24, 2013 · 10:03 AM

EVERETT — Another summer marks another set of complaints about the odors allegedly emanating from Cedar Grove Composting’s Smith Island facility, which was cited for two odor violations on June 6 and another two on June 25 by the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.

PSCAA spokesperson Joanne Todd explained that this makes 13 citations in the past five years for Cedar Grove at Smith Island, in addition to four written warnings within that time, although she also noted that the Smith Island composting plant had not received any citations for 2013 until the month of June.

Susan Thoman, director of public affairs for Cedar Grove, added that these PSCAA notices of violation were the first for the Smith Island plant in three years, and reported that their on-site electronic odor monitoring data for June 6 “clearly contradicts” the PSCAA’s findings, by showing no detectable odors leaving the plant during the times cited by those notices.

“We understand the community’s frustrations, and we care deeply about talking to people about them,” Thoman said. “We’ve begun a review of these findings and our data with Puget Sound Clean Air Agency officials, to try and resolve any disagreements.”

As of Monday, July 22, Cedar Grove had yet to receive the two PSCAA violation notices for June 25, and thus, Thoman declined to comment upon them specifically.

Todd acknowledged that Cedar Grove might not necessarily be subject to disciplinary action as a result of the PSCAA notices, especially since the company can choose to appeal them, but she also clarified that the odor complaints are independent from the agency’s ongoing odor study employing “e-noses” from Odotech similar to those already installed by Cedar Grove at Smith Island.

“With complaints, the public calls in bad odors, and our inspectors work to trace those smells back from those residences to their sources,” Todd said. “The Odotech e-noses have nothing to do with those notices of violation. Cedar Grove owns their own e-noses, and we’ve installed a number of e-noses in other locations to help scientifically identify the source of the odor that so many people in Marysville and North Everett have smelled, but we’re not using them for compliance.”

Todd elaborated that the data from those 10 e-noses will be combined with observations from trained area residents, meteorological factors and other information after the study wraps up, which Todd expects will occur around November of this year.

“It’s going to give us a ton of data, which will take a lot longer than a month to go through,” Todd said.

In the meantime, Thoman relayed the number of positive comments she’s received from the community about Cedar Grove’s composting work, while urging the public to consider the other potential sources of the odor, and Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring reiterated his concerns about the PSCAA study.

“We were always opposed to the e-noses,” Nehring said. “Cedar Grove had a contract with Odotech before the study started, so we believed they would be a bit biased, and our Public Works Director Kevin Nielsen pointed out that the e-noses are not qualified to deal with compost because they can only pick up very defined odors. We don’t have any illusions that the e-noses will say that Cedar Grove is the culprit behind the odor, but without even saying for certain where the odor is coming from, we just want it to away, and we think Cedar Grove could help out with that.”

Burn bans continue for Snohomish County, Tulalip & Stillaguamish tribes

Source: Arlington Times
January 15, 2013 · 1:36 PM

Snohomish County is one of three counties in which the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency has lowered the air quality burn ban to Stage 1 until further notice.

“Air pollution levels throughout the region have dropped, likely due to clouds and warmer temperatures,” said Dr. Phil Swartzendruber, forecaster for the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. “The drop in pollution could also be due to the help of our communities following the burn ban. Calm, cold and clear weather conditions are likely to continue over the next few days, so ongoing cooperation with the burn ban will help keep our air healthy.”

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency will continue to closely monitor the air quality and weather situation.

During a Stage 1 burn ban:

• No burning is allowed in fireplaces or uncertified wood stoves. Residents should rely instead on their homes’ other, cleaner sources of heat, such as their furnaces or electric baseboard heaters, for a few days until air quality improves, the public health risk diminishes and the ban is cancelled.

• No outdoor fires are allowed. This includes recreational fires such as bonfires, campfires, and the use of fire pits and chimineas.

• Burn ban violations are subject to a $1,000 penalty.

• It is okay to use natural gas, propane, pellet and EPA-certified wood stoves or inserts during a Stage 1 burn ban.

The Washington State Department of Health recommends that people who are sensitive to air pollution limit their time spent outdoors, especially when exercising. Air pollution can trigger asthma attacks, cause difficulty breathing, and make lung and heart problems worse. Air pollution is especially harmful to people with lung and heart problems, people with diabetes, children and adults older than 65 years.

The Tulalip and Stillaguamish tribes are likewise among the six Native American reservations on which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 10 will continue a burn ban on all outdoor burning until further notice, due to stagnant air conditions that are forecast to prevail over the next few days.

This burn ban applies to all outdoor and agricultural burning, including camping and recreational fires within reservation boundaries. Ceremonial and traditional fires are exempt from the outdoor burn ban.

The EPA also requests that reservation residents reduce all sources of air pollution, including excess driving and idling of vehicles, and the use of wood stoves and fireplaces, unless it is their only source of heat.

Air pollution can have significant health impacts. Cooperation from the community will help people who are at risk during this period. Those most at risk are children, the elderly, pregnant women, and those with difficulty breathing, and with heart and lung problems. Those at risk should avoid outdoor exercise and minimize their exposure to outdoor pollution as much as possible.

Please call 1-800-424-4EPA and ask for the Federal Air Rules for Reservations Hotline, or visit the FARR website for the current burn status at www.epa.gov/region10/farr/burnbans.html.