Matt Phelps Fay Lim
Communications Specialist II Communications Supervisor
Railway and garbage hauler staffing, supply chain issues lead to excess refuse at county transfer stations
EVERETT, Wash., May 4, 2022 – All Snohomish County Solid Waste transfer stations and drop boxes will temporarily close on Saturday and Sunday, May 7-8 and May 14-15 in order to clear out excess refuse that has become a health, safety and environmental issue for customers and staff. 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.
“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:
Customers who plan to visit Solid Waste facilities can check the lines on the county website: https://www.snohomishcountywa.gov/5431/Check-the-Lines
Snohomish County Public Works is responsible for approximately 1,600 miles of county roads, more than 200 bridges and manages about 200 traffic control signals. The department also processes nearly 600,000 tons of garbage per year. Its mission is to focus on safety and mobility while practicing fiscal responsibility and preserving the environment. Public Works has won numerous state and national honors for its work and is the largest department within Snohomish County government with approximately 500 employees plus seasonal staff. Its main office is located at 3000 Rockefeller Ave, Everett, WA 98201. Visit www.snohomishcountywa.gov/PublicWorks or follow the department on Facebook and Twitter for more information about Snohomish County Public Works.