Proposed site for Seattle's compost angers Kittitas residents

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by ELISA HAHN / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on March 20, 2013 at 6:16 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 20 at 6:44 PM

The City of Seattle needs a new place to take its garbage, and it's considering a proposal to ship it over Interstate 90 to Kittitas County.

But the proposed site for the compost processing facility near Cle Elum is getting a lot of backlash.

Seattle Public Utilities says its current contract with Cedar Grove will soon come to an end.

"We're trying to get a contract established so there can be continuous service for our compost, so we can rely it's going to a good place," said solid waste director Timothy Croll. "And we're trying to do it in the most cost effective way."

Croll says the city received four bids, and it considered the bid from PacifiClean Environmental to be the best one. Under a new agreement, 60,000 tons of food and yard waste would would be shipped to a proposed site just off I-90 in Kittitas County, east of Cle Elum.

Company manager Larry Condon says PacifiClean already has a purchase agreement on the land, contingent on Kittitas County approving the permit. Condon says they picked the site because of its proximity to the freeway and its rural location.

But its not so remote to the residents of the Sunlight Water Development just a couple miles away, which lost 14 homes to the Taylor Bridge fire last summer.

"The thing that gives me nightmares since I found out about this project is the fire danger," said resident Doug Philbrick.

PacifiClean says it will have hydrants and fire suppression on site. The company says the $34 million facility will have state of the art technology to mitigate the smell.

But residents say just the prospect of the processing facility is damage enough.

"We spoke to a couple of realtors and our property value, just from the rumor of PacifiClean coming in here, our property value has dropped to nothing," said Philbrick.

The facility is far from a done deal. Even if the Seattle City Council approves the agreement, it is just in the beginning stages of the permit process in Kittitas County.

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