Community Engagement Plan
January 15, 2020
The Community Engagement Plan provides information about the plans for Grimm’s Fuel Company to improve its facility and its commitment to maintaining open communication with the public about its operations. It will be updated as necessary.
Basic Information about Grimm’s Fuel Company
Founded in 1929, Grimm’s Fuel Company is a family owned composting business in Tualatin, Oregon. Grimm’s receives about 60 percent of the greater Portland’s yard waste and turns it into compost, keeping millions of cubic yards of material out of landfills, reducing greenhouse gasses and returning carbon to our soils.
The company accepts yard waste and land clearing debris including sawdust, wood chips and Christmas trees for composting. Grimm’s produces and distributes a variety of landscape products such as mulches, various compost-based products as well as barkdust and rock products. Additionally, Grimm’s continues to deliver firewood and heating oil to private homes. Grimm’s is located at 18850 SW Cipole Road, Tualatin, Oregon.
Composting occurs when organic matter, like yard debris, is put into piles in order to breakdown and decay naturally. The process creates nutrient rich compost that can be used in gardens and on farms. Composting at Grimm’s eliminates vast amounts of organic matter from landfills around Oregon and provides an organic alternative to chemical fertilizers. Composting also helps to minimize methane emissions from landfills. We are proud of the work we do to offer organic solutions to Oregon’s agricultural community and the role we play in reducing the effects of climate change.
Grimm’s is making substantial investments in and modifications to its composting system. We believe this will have several benefits, including reducing unintended odor from the compost.
This community engagement plan documents our plans for outreach, communications and engagement during the upgrades and beyond.
- Inform: Distribute information about Grimm’s Fuel, our new system upgrades, and how the community can stay in touch.
- Listen: Initiate and maintain open communication between Grimm’s and our neighbors and respond to questions and concerns.
- Engage: Create channels through which Grimm’s communicates and engages with the community. Develop a procedure for addressing any concerns associated with the facility.
Commitments by Grimm’s Fuel
- We are investing in a state-of-the-art composting process called aerated static pile (ASP) that will significantly reduce odor and modernize our facility. We will communicate with our neighbors as we complete the construction on this project. A description of the ASP system and a timeline for implementing is included further on in this document.
- We commit to operate our facility within our licenses, permits and zoning conditions:
- Oregon Metro License L-043-19
- Oregon DEQ Permit #1433
- Oregon Fire Codes
- City of Tualatin Conditional Use Permit
- In addition to the odor reductions we anticipate from implementing the ASP system, we commit to:
- Conducting regular odor surveys and log the results.
- Abiding by the odor complaint protocols as required by Metro and DEQ and outlined in our Operations Plan.
- Creating a separate blog linked to our website that will contain updates to our ASP conversion process and other items of interest.
- We will create a dedicated email address that community members can use to contact us directly and will respond in a timely manner.
- Grimm’s will communicate to keep our neighbors apprised of what is going on at our facility.
- We commit to giving neighbors in the Pony Ridge and Angel Haven neighborhoods unlimited free dumping of yard debris, and free garden mulch compost and blended soil.
Aerated Static Pile System & Installation Timeline
We were once located in rural Washington Country, far away from any residential communities. As the area has grown, so too has the need to change and modernize our facility. The composting methods that served us well for 40-years, are no longer the best options for today.
Over the years, we have made many changes to our operation, to respond to feedback from the community, and to minimize odor. The implementation of the ASP system represents a big step forward for our business and will require a substantial investment.
We hired Green Mountain Technologies, a company which specializes in providing engineering design and state of the art control systems for composting facilities. They are the same experts that were hired by Metro to evaluate our operation. For our size of facility, they have recommended an aerated static pile process that is proven to significantly reduce odor.
As described by Green Mountain Technologies:
The ASP concept is simple: Place perforated pipes on the ground that are connected to a blower to push (positive) or pull (negative) air through the compost. First cover the pipe with some wood chips to distribute air and then carefully build a well-mixed and watered compost pile six to ten feet deep and then cap it with a layer of old compost or wood chips to insulate and remove odors from the surface.
For more information on the system, please visit: https://compostingtechnology.com/aerated-static-pile-systems/aerated-static-pile/
While it is impossible to operate a composting facility without producing some odors, we are confident that an aerated system will significantly lessen odors, and we look forward to working with our neighbors, Metro and the DEQ to obtain this goal.
The ASP system is being installed in a three phased approach. To begin, we built a smaller mock-up of the system to test effectiveness and troubleshoot operations. The Test Bins have been up and running since January 2019, and the results are encouraging.
Last fall (2019), we completed Phase 1 of the conversion, which will bring 40-60% of our annual throughput on an aerated surface. At this time, Phase 1 Is not yet in production.
Phase 2 Is scheduled to be completed before the June 30, 2020 deadline, at which point 100% of our composting throughput will be on an aerated surface.
Planned Outreach Avenues
- Publish the community engagement plan: https://grimmsfuelco.wordpress.com
- Throughout the conversion we will send quarterly updates distributed to immediate neighbors via our blog and/or mailings (ongoing)
- A full open house after Phase 1 is operational and 2nd open house after the completion of Phase 2
- Public relations outreach as needed to The Times and Tualatin Life. Op-eds in the same publications when it makes sense (ongoing)
- Direct neighbors to an email or phone they can use for questions or concerns: Phone: 503-636-3623 Email: email@example.com
- Respond to any questions or concerns from community members (ongoing) (mailings, email, etc., ongoing)
- Engage with community groups that have raised concerns about Grimm’s (mailings, email, etc., ongoing)
- Add a page to our website where community outreach materials are posted: https://grimmsfuelco.wordpress.com/blog/
- Communicate about local community giving: https://grimmsfuelco.wordpress.com/services/
- Tours on request