King County’s landfill is going to get bigger

A ninth cell will be built, extending its life by another decade.

Scott Barden stands next to the pit that will house the newest, and possibly final, section of the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill near Maple Valley. The pit is 120 feet deep, and around another 180 feet will be built on top of it over the next decade (Aaron Kunkler Photo).

Scott Barden stands next to the pit that will house the newest, and possibly final, section of the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill near Maple Valley. The pit is 120 feet deep, and around another 180 feet will be built on top of it over the next decade (Aaron Kunkler Photo).

King County’s last remaining landfill will get even larger after the county council voted late last month to extend the landfill’s life and expand it in a 5-2 vote.

The decision will create a ninth cell at the landfill, which will be filled with garbage at a cost of around $270 million. This option has been roundly opposed by neighbors who have continued to show up at King County Council meetings and who again voiced their concerns at the April 24 meeting.

Council members Reagan Dunn and Kathy Lambert both voted against the plan.

“I’m going to vote no today because I want to protest the monolithic pile of garbage,” Dunn said.

The plan also included provisions for county staff to complete a study identifying alternate ways to deal with the county’s trash, including shipping it to other landfills, creating a waste-to-energy plant and creating technology to break down the garbage in the landfill. Lambert, who has been an advocate for a waste-to-energy plant, voiced her unhappiness with the decision of the council.

“To plan anything other than the best in the world is just not good enough,” she said. “This plan does not do enough to respond to the neighbors around the landfill.”

Located near Maple Valley, the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill is the last remaining in King County and was created in the 1960s. The ninth cell will extend the life of the landfill well into the future, possibly up to 2040. A current eighth cell is being built and would have given the county until 2028 to find another way to deal with its trash.

King County generates roughly 1.3 million tons of waste annually. The council’s decision to increase capacity at the landfill could potentially put it in conflict with previous settlement agreements if it increases height to 830 feet above sea level in some places. It currently has a height limit of 788 feet.

Neighbors of the landfill have voiced concerns over increases in smells and garbage being dumped on their property by eagles, which pick at trash. One man showed up to multiple meetings with medical bags that he said contained blood and plasma bags dropped on his property by eagles.

Several amendments were also included in the measure. These include mandating the county make a good faith effort to keep the landfill at 788 feet above sea level, creating and implementing a bird management plan, and requiring a progress report on exploring alternate ways of disposing trash to be delivered to the council by the end of 2021.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@vashonbeachcomber.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.vashonbeachcomber.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Northwest

Kabal Gill, owner of East India Grill in Federal Way, wears gloves to hand over take-out orders at his restaurant on March 23. File photo
New guidelines for Phase 2 reopenings in King County

All workers will need to wear masks as restaurants, retail shops and other businesses reopen.

This undated file photo provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows CDC’s laboratory test kit for the new coronavirus. Courtesy photo
Inslee wants nursing home residents and staff tested by June 12

Governor says state will pay for test kits and personal protective equipment.

New protocols set for Sea-Tac Airport

Strategy to ensure the health, well-being of passengers, visitors and workers

Stock image
Campgrounds to reopen in 22 Washington counties

Campgrounds in counties actively in Phase 2 of the reopening plan will begin to welcome visitors June 1, state says.

As sales tax plummets in King County, mental health and drug program funding dries up

County will need to make severe cuts to MIDD program this year.

File photo of construction near North Bend on Aug. 16. Sound Publishing file photo
                                File photo of construction near North Bend on Aug. 16. Sound Publishing file photo
Rural King County mayors want state to let them enter Phase 2

Mayors cite heavy economic damage from prolonged shutdown.

State Parks offers three free days in June

No pass needed June 6, 7 and 13

Auburn Mountain View Cemetery Manager Craig Hudson, center, confers with maintenance workers David Partridge, left, and Zach Hopper in March 2020. Sound Publishing file photo
State allows weddings, funerals, religious services to restart with restrictions

Gov. Inslee issues new rules during May 27 news conference.

Macklemore will perform as part of a virtual concert June 10 to raise money for All In Wa, a group formed to support people in need because of the COVID-19 outbreak. COURTESY PHOTO
Group launches All In Wa fund to raise $65M for COVID-19 crisis relief

Fundraising includes a virtual concert June 10 featuring Pearl Jam, Macklemore and others

Most Read