Friday, September 28, 2012

Legal Representation

After three years of trying to find a real solution to our inability to use our property due to nuisance odors, myself and others in the area have hired attorneys, on a contingency fee basis, to investigate filing a civil lawsuit for damages. If you are interested in discussing this option, I strongly encourage you to contact the attorneys listed below. This agreement will not cost you a dime. The attorneys get paid only if they win the case!
  I have also included here a links to recent articles in the Seattle Weekly by Nina Shapiro and Kirk Boxleitner from the Marysville Globe that I believe accurately represents the issue. 


Here is the Contact information for our attorneys. Please call them for information and to get an retainer agreement.

Todd Hageman
The Simon Law Firm, P.C.
800 Market, Suite 1700
St Louis, Missouri 63101

Zak Johnson
Zakariah Johnson PLLC
PO Box 600017
Jacksonville, Florida 32260

Mike Davis
Citizens for a Smell Free Snohomish County!
If you would like to join our email distribution list, please email Mike at

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mayor Nehring writes an open letter in the Herald

Something stinks about Cedar Grove's response to odor problem

Cedar Grove Compost as seen from north Everett looking toward Marysville.

By Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring

For the past couple months, a group of paid signature gatherers has been knocking on the doors of Marysville residents pushing a study to get to the bottom of a persistent odor problem in our community.

It's important to set the record straight on what is actually happening here. Despite portraying themselves as backing an independent study that gets at the heart of the odor problem, this paid, cynical effort appears to be yet another attempt by Cedar Grove, widely believed to be the obvious and demonstrated main source of odor in our community, to deflect blame by funding a petition drive using paid contractors to masquerade as Marysville citizen activists.

We know this because when a signature gatherer knocked on City Councilman Jeff Vaughan's door, he asked her who she was working for, and after a fair bit of hemming and hawing, she acknowledged it was a Cedar Grove effort.

So, Cedar Grove is running a campaign that is deceptive to Marysville residents, and the people who've discovered this do not appreciate it. A number of complaints have been received at City Hall about this latest attempt by Cedar Grove to once again deny its problems and blame others.

It's also important to understand that what they're saying about the City of Marysville is not true. For the record, the City does not oppose an odor study. We will support an odor study that is truly independent and performed by a neutral third party. That is NOT the case with a study promoted by the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, which wants to use a company by the name of Odotech, the very same vendor that Cedar Grove has already contracted with for two years.

Not only is Odotech not a neutral third party, it is a company that has pocketed at least $200,000 from Cedar Grove and has a business relationship with them. Odotech also showed itself to be neither neutral nor interested in unbiased scientific results when a representative of their company attended a PSCAA board meeting in June and insinuated the City of Marysville's wastewater treatment plant is a likely odor culprit. It appears they may have already predetermined the outcome and should NOT be contracted for a credible, independent odor study.

I'd also like to set the record straight about our wastewater treatment plant. The facility has been in operation since 1959, but has never been a source of odor complaints to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. At times it can produce a mild smell that is entirely different from and totally distinguishable from the Cedar Grove odor. We have repeatedly invited visitors to come and tour it at any time. We even made the offer to PSCAA's enforcement officers to have space there, because the City has nothing to hide and if it is the source of this odor that so many are complaining about, it can be addressed immediately. Not surprisingly, Cedar Grove hasn't made a similar offer that we are aware of.

A few weeks ago, the PSCAA held a community meeting with one week's notice to describe their planned odor study. More than 100 people gave up two hours on a nice evening to express that they have had enough of the denial, stalling and attempts to blame others, the lack of enforcement to get Cedar Grove into compliance, and the lack of responsibility from Cedar Grove to fix the problem.

At that meeting, PSCAA Executive Director Craig Kenworthy said that he needs to build a record, and that's partly what the study will do. Well, it seems that there's already a copious record -- one that includes $119,000 in fines upheld by The State Pollution Control Hearings Board despite a costly appeal by Cedar Grove. PSCAA can already create a requirement in Cedar Grove's operating permit that Level 2 nuisance odors offsite -- the kind we experience now -- will result in further enforcement, which might incentivize Cedar Grove to improve their operations with respect to the smell.

As we're seeing from this latest effort, Cedar Grove would apparently prefer to spend large amounts of money on door-to-door signature gatherers, phone surveys, and appeals rather than actually addressing their impacts on this community. Imagine if they instead spent their time, energy and funds actually working to fix the problem. Cedar Grove has a lot of hard work to do to restore any level of public confidence that it cares about the community or is doing the right thing. The PSCAA also has much to do to revive public faith in its ability to accomplish meaningful regulation without deference to or fear of Cedar Grove.

About the author

Jon Nehring is the Mayor of Marysville.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Marysville Mayor Nehring speaks out about odor study



Copied from Marysville Globe Guest Opinion

August 9, 2012 · 12:20 PM


On July 24, officials from the city of Marysville and Tulalip Tribes joined about 100 residents in attending a community meeting hosted by the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA).

The purpose of the meeting, for which the community was given less than a week’s notice, was for agency officials to provide an overview of an odor monitoring study that would use odor-sensing devices to collect real-time data over the next two years. It would start at the end of 2012.

The city of Marysville is open to an independent scientific study, if it can be shown that it will result in enforcement that leads to a solution to the terrible odor that thousands of citizens in Marysville, Tulalip and North Everett have dealt with over the past five years, and remain fully convinced that the Cedar Grove Composting facility on Smith Island is responsible.

This is not that study.

As you will read in remarks made by myself and City Chief Administrative Officer Gloria Hirashima at the meeting, and excerpted below, the study being proposed by PSCAA is flawed on many levels, as was the process for choosing a vendor. We are providing this information to keep you informed on this important local issue.

Mayor Nehring’s remarks:

This community has put up with this odor for five years.

We’re tired of the delay tactics, we’re tired of the endless studies, the government games. It’s time for a solution.

For the last two years, we’ve worked in partnership with the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, and your representatives have come here and told this community — and we’ve backed you 100 percent — “call us, call us, call us, this is how we’re going to get the enforcement and solve the problem.” We’ve educated our citizens to do just that. This is a solution, we were told. We’ll have to wait a couple years for PSCAA to gather the data. The public was diligent, you were diligent.

You got citations levied against Cedar Grove Composting and its operations, and defended the citations successfully before the Puget Sound Pollution Control Hearings Board, and then you gave it away in a settlement where Cedar Grove gets to pick their own odor monitoring firm that is already a vendor of theirs that they pay $200,000 for odor monitoring. There is no enforcement mechanism. You mentioned you came to the City earlier about the odor monitoring study. We offered you a counter-proposal that included enforcement and solutions. You discarded it in a matter of days and went forward.

It says in your own PSCAA Board of Directors minutes that you went forward against the suggestions of the Marysville and Tulalip communities. Obviously it wasn’t that important to you to find out what our solutions were.
This is the problem with this study. We cannot support a study by a biased third party (Odotech). Odotech is already a vendor being paid by Cedar Grove.

In minutes from the June 14 PSCAA Board meeting, a representative (from Odotech) already insinuated that they think the smell might be coming from the Marysville Wastewater Treatment Plant. (The Marysville, Tulalip and North Everett communities) know the smell we’re talking about. We drive by it on I-5 every day and on SR 529.

It’s a distinct smell that everybody knows, and people are tired. We don’t need another data-gathering study. What we need is a solution and enforcement.

We need somebody to step up and care and stand up for the average citizen, and not bury ourselves in another delaying tactic, and that’s why Marysville is opposed to this, because we don’t have an unbiased firm — we have a very biased one in our opinion, and I’ve cited examples of why. So we’re going to sit here for two more years and collect data that we don’t trust. What’s the solution after that? I don’t see any enforcement in this.

Chief Administrative Officer Gloria Hirashima’s remarks (condensed):

Having participated in some of the discussions for this odor monitoring study, I have to say that with 22 years in public service, this process and your agency’s participation in it, as well as other agencies, has been the most disappointing public process I have ever seen in my years of public service … We sat down with agencies after reviewing the records for the RFP (Request for Proposals) process for this odor contract. The process was so rigged, it was so flawed ... and pre-determined to select Cedar Grove’s vendor that we got a commitment from your staff that you would not go forward with the study because you thought our concerns were valid.

Watch Meeting on Marysville Cable TV   -

Watch this meeting in its entirety on Marysville government access Channel 21 on Comcast or Channel 25 on the Verizon cable system. Consult the city website at for dates and viewing times. You can also view the meeting on the city website.

Mayor Jon Nehring can be reached at or 360-363-8091.

Contact Marysville Globe Guest Opinion Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring at