County transfer stations to temporarily close next two weekends for excess trash removal

Garbage piled high at the Southwest Transfer Station May 2. (Photo by David Carlos)

Don’t plan a weekend dump run anytime soon. Snohomish County Solid Waste said that all of its transfer stations and drop boxes — including the Southwest Transfer Station in Mountlake Terrace — will temporarily close on Saturday and Sunday, May 7-8 and May 14-15, so staff can clear out excess trash that has become a health, safety and environmental issue for customers and staff.

The emergency closures will allow staff to remove more of the refuse backlog that has steadily built up since the first of the year due to a shortage of shipping containers and staffing issues with county contractors.

“These temporary closures will allow us to stay focused on our top priorities: the health and safety of our staff and the public,” Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers said. “Coupled with our emergency contract with Waste Management and increasing service levels by Republic, the closures will allow us to expedite this process. We appreciate our customers’ continued patience during these challenges.”

Solid Waste facilities will remain open during normal weekday operating hours and hope to return to normal operating hours on the weekends starting Saturday, May 21.

The Snohomish County Council approved a $2 million emergency contract with Waste Management last week for extra hauling capacity. Snohomish County Solid Waste also continues to work closely with Republic Services and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF).

“These unfortunate closures, increasing service levels by Republic and the emergency contract will help ease the strain on our system,” Snohomish County Public Works Director Kelly Snyder said. “While we are working with our partners to implement short and long-term solutions to improve waste-by-rail throughput, these temporary closures will significantly reduce the health and safety threats we are currently facing.”

The buildup of garbage has not yet exceeded the limits set at any Snohomish County facility thus far. However, the Airport Rd (ARTS) and Southwest (SWRTS) Recycling and Transfer Stations are reaching their capacity limits. ARTS, the county’s largest facility, currently has 3,900 tons of refuse and SWRTS has 1,950. The last time a shutdown took place was in 2008.

The Snohomish County’s Household Hazardous Waste Drop-off Station will remain open to the public as the garbage slowdown does not impact services at that facility located in Everett.

For updates and more details, please visit www.snohomishcountywa.gov/207/Solid-Waste. Customers who plan to visit Solid Waste facilities can check the lines on the county website:https://www.snohomishcountywa.gov/5431/Check-the-Lines

 

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