Snohomish County waste transfer stations re-open after clearing backlog

All Snohomish County solid waste transfer stations temporarily closed on May 7 and 8 to remove nearly 4,000 tons of backlogged garbage. The stations were supposed to be closed on May 14 and 15, but Snohomish County announced that the stations will be back to regular business hours. 

At the end of April, Snohomish County Public Works is asking people to pause taking out their trash for the next week or two.

Crews are working overtime to clear a backlog of garbage at its transfer facilities. The county approved a $2 million emergency contract with removal company Waste Management to help clear the garbage.

The excess refuse has become a "health, safety and environmental issue for customers and staff," according to Snohomish County Public Works.

The emergency closures will allow county 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, public works said. 

"We know the closure was an inconvenience, and we appreciate our customers patience last weekend," Snohomish County Public Works Director Kelly Snyder said. "We stopped the immediate health and safety hazard, but there is much more work and coordination left to do with the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF), Republic Services, Waste Management and others to prevent additional closures later this spring and summer."

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. In total, crews cleared nearly 5,400 tons (over 10 million pounds) of refuse from ARTS and SWRTS. 

The Snohomish County’s Household Hazardous Waste Drop-off Station will remain open to the public.