Garbage at the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill in Maple Valley. FILE PHOTO, Seattle Weekly

Garbage at the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill in Maple Valley. FILE PHOTO, Seattle Weekly

County extends life of Cedar Hills landfill

King County Councilman Raegan Dunn voted against plan.

  • Tuesday, May 7, 2019 9:00am
  • News

The King County Council recently authorized the expansion of the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill, which sits just a bit off busy state Route 16 north of Maple Valley.

Passed the afternoon of April 24, the legislation may extend the life of the facility for up to 20 years.

The measure is a piece of the 2019 Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan, which passed by a vote of 5-2, with Councilmembers Rod Dembowski, Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Dave Upthegrove, Claudia Balducci, and Joe McDermott voting in favor of the legislation. Councilmembers Kathy Lambert and Reagan Dunn voted against the ordinance while Councilmembers Larry Gossett and Pete von Reichbauer were absent and did not vote.

Dunn, who represents the Enumclaw Plateau on the County Council, expressed his dissatisfaction with the decision.

“We are long overdue for a long-term plan for how King County will responsibly manage its trash,” Dunn said in a prepared release. “The County has said many times in the past decades that the landfill was getting full and would close soon. I want to hold them to that. It’s time for a more equitable and environmentally responsible option that protects the health of our communities. The residents of King County deserve better than this.”

Lambert also made her feelings clear.

“Cedar Hills Regional Landfill is aging and nearing the end of its useful life,” she stated in a release. “Not surprising given that 37 cities and the unincorporated areas of the county have sent their garbage there since 1965.

The last Solid Waste Management Plan was adopted nearly 20 years ago, she said, allowing plenty of time for the county’s Solid Waste Division to come up with an adequate long-term disposal plan for the county’s waste. She noted the county had time to look at new technologies and a diverse range of waste management approaches.

“Unfortunately, that is not what happened,” Lamberty said. “Instead of protecting residents near the landfill with a clear path and proven-technology that could have modernized our waste issues, they will continue to pile it higher and higher.

“As trash continues to build up at Cedar Hills to 830 feet above sea level, we need to adopt a long-term solution and use state of the art technology with predictable costs, and we need to do it now.”

Lambert spoke favorably of technology being used worldwide to deal with trash.

“Waste-to-energy is a proven technology that is ready for implementation today,” she said. “Around the world waste-to-energy plants are processing trash and turning it into clean, renewable energy. Waste-to-energy is an environmentally responsible, long-term, predictable solution that can make a positive impact on the region for generations to come.”

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