Scott Barden stands at the bottom of the massive pit of the landfill’s newly-built eighth section. Work on the new section has been underway for around two years. Aaron Kunkler/staff photo

Scott Barden stands at the bottom of the massive pit of the landfill’s newly-built eighth section. Work on the new section has been underway for around two years. Aaron Kunkler/staff photo

Committee proposes amendments to address King County trash dilemma

King County Council to vote on plan.

Proposed amendments to a plan for King County’s landfill were recommended at a meeting April 18 by the Regional Policy Committee as part of an ongoing effort to address the future of waste disposal in the county.

Residents again addressed county leaders at the meeting, with many asking the county to explore alternatives to expanding the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill and extending its life an additional 20 years. The King County Council will vote on the amended plan on April 24.

“I don’t think you understand the impacts of this comp plan,” said landfill neighbor Kim Brighton. “The public wants the landfill to close.”

Several amendments to the plan were recommended by the committee, including one that states the county must make a good faith effort to keep the landfill at 788 feet above sea level, a height agreed to in previous settlements with neighbors. Others dealt with creating and implementing a management plan to keep large birds like eagles from picking up trash. At least one neighbor said there have been multiple blood and plasma bags dropped on his property by eagles.

A total of six amendments were passed, including one that stipulated the county should develop a plan for long-term disposal of waste and mandates the county provide a progress report that would be due to the council by the end of 2021.

“We need to kick this thing into gear,” said county council member Rod Dembowski.

The committee’s recommendation is the latest step for the county as it figures out how to handle its trash. King County has one remaining landfill located near Maple Valley. It was built in the 1960s and is nearly full. A final cell is being constructed and will extend the life of the landfill until around 2028.

When it fills up, the county will need to have another plan in place dealing with how it handles trash. The county could further extend the landfill by allowing even more cells to be built. If that plan is approved, the landfill could operate until around 2040. Buildings could be decommissioned and removed to make extra space. This would cost the county between $240 million to $270 million.

This plan has been generally opposed by neighbors who have attended past meetings, with many voicing support for the building of a waste-to-energy plant, an option which has been championed by county council member Kathy Lambert. This option would burn trash, convert it to energy and cost between $1.1 billion to $1.4 billion to construct.

The county could additionally ship its trash away on freight trains to landfills in other parts of Washington or neighboring states. Trash from King County would account for around 2 percent of all freight traffic in the state and cost the county roughly $5 million to $7 million.

More in News

Photo courtesy of City of Mercer Island
                                A cougar was captured by security footage on Aug. 5.
WDFW: Mercer Island cougar sighting ‘not unheard of’

The animal has not been spotted since the initial report was made

Stephanie Quiroz/staff photos
                                Covenant Living at the Shores residents and staff with Ageless Aviation pilot and team at the Renton Municipal Airport on Aug. 12.
Covenant Living at the Shores Residents take flight

Tom Norris, Sid Boegl, Doug Wilkinson, and Jack Nelson take flight in a 1942 Boeing Stearman.

The map shows ten areas of Mercer Island that require critical infrastructure and resources, should a natural disaster occur. Photo courtesy of the city of Mercer Island
Preparing for “the really big one” in a city surrounded by water

The Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan covers nearly 60 planning partners, including Mercer Island.

Photo courtesy of Juliana Kang Robinson
                                Juliana Kang Robinson’s public artwork, “Alone Together.”
MI artist completes Seattle public artwork

Juliana Kang Robinson designed the new artwalk intersection University and 1st Avenue near Harbor Steps and the Seattle Art Museum.

Dr. Richard Repass is the owner and medical director of Revolution Psychiatry. He has spent the last decade caring for patients who struggle with mental health illnesses and substance use disorders. Photo courtesy of Richard Repass
A new psychiatry clinic offers natural, alternative methods of detox various disorders

Revolution Psychiatry helps patients suffering with alcoholism or drug abuse, among other disorders.

The French American School of Puget Sound moved to Mercer Island in 1999 and took over the old fire station just north of the Stroum Jewish Community Center property. Madeline Coats/staff photo
Planning for the Community Facility Zone is paused after community expresses concern

Next steps for the zoning effort will be discussed on Aug. 20.

I-90 bridge to remain open during Seafair weekend.

FAA-mandated safety zone no longer affecting bridge.

Most Read