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Originally published January 23, 2013 at 3:25 PM | Page modified January 23, 2013 at 7:35 PM

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Cedar Grove neighbors say it stinks, file suit

More than 350 people who live near Cedar Grove Composting facilities have sued over odors they blame on rotting food and yard waste at the plants.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Two groups of residents in Maple Valley and Snohomish County have sued Cedar Grove Composting because they say rotting food and yard waste is stinking up their neighborhoods.

In years of disputes with residents near both Cedar Grove plants, the composter has maintained that the facilities aren’t responsible for the odors, and says it has taken steps to minimize the smell.

The lawsuits, filed by a national firm on behalf of about 280 people in the Maple Valley area and 80 near Everett, seek damages for plaintiffs it says have been unable to use their property and have suffered “annoyance, inconvenience and substantial personal discomfort.”

Each plaintiff is seeking less than $75,000 to make up for alleged problems caused by the smell.

Cedar Grove spokeswoman Susan Thoman said in an email that she hadn’t yet seen the lawsuits but that “generally, we are continuing efforts to improve odor management.”

Key to the lawsuit will be proving Cedar Grove is the cause of the smells residents complain about. A Puget Sound Clean Air Agency study of the Everett plant is under way, using electronic noses.

Attorney Todd Hageman said he’s confident plaintiffs will be able to show that Cedar Grove is causing the odor problems in both places.

Emily Heffter: 206-464-8246 or On Twitter: @EmilyHeffter

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