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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Compost Plant Gets Ultimatum Stop Stinking Up Neighborhood Or Get Out, Council Tells Company

The company that manages Spokane’s regional compost plant got its second ultimatum in less than a year from the City Council: Get rid of the stink plaguing neighbors within 30 days or get out.

Council members voted 5-1 Monday to put O.M. Scott and Sons on notice that any more odor violations cited by the county’s Air Pollution Control Authority could force the city to end its contract.

Because the compost plant is a joint city-county operation, the county commissioners must agree with the council’s decision before it takes effect.

Councilwoman Bev Numbers cast the lone dissenting vote, saying the company has had more than enough time to clear away the smells.

“I believe this council has been very, very patient with O.M. Scott, very patient with staff,” Numbers said. “The people of Colbert have been very patient. There’s got to be an end.”

Numbers moved that the council terminate the contract and give the company 30 days to close the plant down. A tie vote killed the motion, with Councilmen Chris Anderson and Orville Barnes siding with Numbers.

Mayor Jack Geraghty was absent.

City Attorney James Sloane said the contract with O.M. Scott made it imperative the company be given a 30-day notice to correct the odor problems.

The 43-acre, $2 million plant in Colbert is a public-private enterprise between the city and O.M. Scott of Ohio.

Neighbors for more than a year have complained the plant sends foul smells into the air that keep them inside their homes.

Air quality cops cited the plant for odor violations May 30.

Council members last September gave O.M. Scott a similar edict but backed away when smells decreased.

Attorney Steve Eugster, who represents the nearby property owners, told the council the plant is a continued “nuisance” that has been in violation of its contract since it opened.

“We will take steps to enjoin this nuisance, as well as take steps to remedy the past nuisance,” Eugster said.

Phil Williams, the director of the regional solid waste project, offered the council several composting options if smells at the site can’t be controlled.

Those options and their costs include:

Moving the plant to a more rural spot in the county - $2 million to $3 million.

Buying 13 homes and one vacant lot near the plant - $2.7 million.

Turning the plant into a facility that grinds yard debris but doesn’t compost it.

Also Monday, the council deferred a decision on whether to allow a work-release facility at 720 N. Monroe.

, DataTimes

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