All solid waste transfer stations in Snohomish County will return to regular hours this weekend after crews cleared nearly 5,400 tons of garbage from the facilities, averting a “health and safety emergency.” Snohomish County Public Works announced last week that all transfer stations and dropboxes in the county would temporarily close for two full weekends beginning May 7 to clear a backlog of garbage at the facilities. Officials said the backlog of trash had become a “health, safety and environmental issue for customers and staff.”
The county announced Wednesday that crews were able to clear the trash backlog during the first weekend closure but said the “underlying issues which caused the original emergency persist.” Snohomish County Public Works crews were able to clear over 10 million pounds of garbage over the weekend from the Airport Road Recycling and Transfer Station in Everett and the Southwest Recycling and Transfer Station in Montlake Terrace.
Officials said last week that one of the garbage piles at the Everett facility contained nearly 7.4 million pounds of trash, while the smaller transfer station in Mountlake Terrace had another 3.5 million pounds of garbage. “We are so very proud of our staff’s performance and determination,” said Solid Waste Director David Schonhard. “They averted a second weekend of closures through sheer hard work. Safety is our number one concern, and they worked diligently to remedy what was becoming a very untenable situation.”
Snohomish County Public Works Director Kelly Snyder told KING 5 that temperatures deep inside the piles were hitting 130 degrees, posing a serious safety threat. “It’s getting compacted. It’s getting heated up. That will lead us to have some fire issues,” Snyder said during a May 4 interview. “We have to make sure we get this trash out and to the landfill as quickly as we can.”