Interwest Construction, Inc was issued two stop work order by the city of Everett after unpermitted work began on a site along the Snohomish River where the company is planning a concrete recycling facility. (Lizz Giordano / The Herald)

Interwest Construction, Inc was issued two stop work order by the city of Everett after unpermitted work began on a site along the Snohomish River where the company is planning a concrete recycling facility. (Lizz Giordano / The Herald)

Riverside residents push back on proposed concrete plant

After unpermitted work, distrust has grown over a project neighbors say could bring in hazardous materials.

EVERETT — The first stop-work order was issued in June by the city of Everett. A second followed a few months later, after Interwest Construction Inc. continued to bring in material to a site along the Snohomish River where the company wants to build a concrete recycling plant.

But this hasn’t stopped operations on a piece of land in northeast Everett, according to residents in the adjacent Riverside area who say they are seeing trucks come and go. The continued, apparently unauthorized work has left a feeling of apprehension in the neighborhood over a project that many worry could potentially pollute the river or bring in hazardous materials.

“It makes us really distrust them,” said Logan Daniels, a Riverside resident. “Are they going to continue to disregard us as neighbors?”

The Burlington-based company is in the process of obtaining the needed permits, but without that paperwork, no activity is allowed. Interwest is planning a base there to recycle, store and sell concrete. The construction firm has been involved in large projects around the region, including Everett’s Broadway Bridge replacement project and the recent repaving of the main runway at Paine Field.

As of Monday afternoon, a large pile of broken-up concrete sat on the 13.8-acre lot.

“We didn’t realize we couldn’t even park things there,” said Roy Swihart, vice president of operations for Interwest. “Our hope is to be a solid neighbor and provide jobs. And be proactive in the area, and not to be a disturbance.”

Interwest purchased the land in April from Kimberly-Clark Corp., according to Swihart. The parcel is zoned for heavy manufacturing. Next door to the property, Penske Truck Leasing is planning an unrelated vehicle servicing area.

Swihart said Interwest will be handling construction debris that otherwise would go to a landfill.

The location has residents worried they eventually could be inhaling the byproduct of recycling concrete — silica.

Exposure to the dust can increase the risks of developing lung cancer or heart disease, according to U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

“We will end up breathing that in,” said Glenn Erichsen, who lives nearby.

Interwest will use water to suppress the dust, Swihart said.

“It keeps it from becoming too airborne,” he said.

Noise pollution also is a concern for neighbors, some of whom have suggested requiring the company to build a wall to block the noise.

Interwest will be complying with the city of Everett and Puget Sound Clean Air Agency rules for both dust and noise, Swihart said.

At this time, the city has determined the project will not have significant negative impacts to the environment, said Meghan Pembroke, a spokeswoman for the mayor’s office.

A special property use permit, which is granted by the hearing examiner, could place additional restrictions on the recycling plant.

The neighborhood has long dealt with the impact of having heavy industry next door. A mountain of shredded wood waste caught fire and smoldered for several months in 2007 and 2008 when Kimberly-Clark owned the land. The paper company had to pay a fine to Everett for the pollution.

When Matthew Crist, and some of his fellow neighbors, peer down the ravine toward the Interwest site, they want to see a restored estuary.

“It’s absurd. We’ve cleaned up one environmental hazard and now the city’s on the verge of creating another environmental hazard,” Crist said. “This is going backward in my mind.”

A public hearing on the project is set for 9 a.m Dec. 13 on the eighth floor of the Wall Street Building, 2930 Wetmore Ave.

Lizz Giordano: 425-374-4165; egiordano@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @lizzgior.

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