A worker is seen spraying down the floor of the Airport Road Recycling and Transfer Station during a period of backlogged garbage earlier this year on Friday, April 29, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

A worker is seen spraying down the floor of the Airport Road Recycling and Transfer Station during a period of backlogged garbage earlier this year on Friday, April 29, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

A rising tide of trash forcing another closure of county facilities

Transfer stations, drop boxes to close the next two Sundays. Also, yard debris won’t be accepted starting Sept. 21.

EVERETT — Snohomish County is closing its garbage drop boxes and transfer stations again so crews can catch up and clear out trash.

It’s going to happen this Sunday. And again next Sunday, Sept. 25. Back in May, the county closed the sites for one weekend.

“These two Sunday closures will allow our crews to relieve the system stress by clearing some of the backlog that is building up,” said Solid Waste Director Dave Schonhard in a statement. “By closing on two Sundays, we hope to minimize the impact on commercial curbside pickup for county residents.”

Also, starting Wednesday, Snohomish County will stop accepting yard debris at all its facilities. This ban will be in effect indefinitely. The county did not take this action in May.

With growing piles of refuse, yard trimmings and wood debris are getting mixed in and contaminated. This means they must be disposed of as solid waste, eating up valuable space in containers used to ship trash to a regional landfill, officials said.

The county hopes residents will now take their yard debris to area composters.

The challenge is the same it’s been all year: more material is coming in than going out pretty much every day.

A major reason is the lack of containers relied upon for transporting material by train. The county used to receive 66 containers a day by train. Three times a week there would be two trains and thus twice as many containers.

Now, it’s a bit of a crapshoot each day. On Wednesday, for example, there was one train which delivered 33 containers.

“We are continuing to experience disruptions in rail service with a shortage of containers,” said Snohomish County Public Works Director Kelly Snyder.

Huge trash piles are also a safety, health and environmental concern. One big worry is pileups can combust. Organisms eat the organic matter in the trash, generating heat. If there’s nowhere for the heat to go, it can ignite. Crews have been on regular fire watch.

To supplement the rail service, the Snohomish County Council in April approved an emergency contract with Waste Management to haul trash by truck to Seattle where it is shipped by train to a landfill in Oregon. The deal spanned six months and allowed for spending up to $2 million for the emergency services. A little less than $300,000 has been spent thus far, officials said.

The county council is working to extend the agreement for another six months starting in October.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @dospueblos.

Dropping off debris

Starting Sept. 21, Snohomish County will temporarily stop accepting yard debris at all transfer stations and drop boxes. Residents are being encouraged to take their green waste and wood debris an alternate location. Here are some options:

Bailey Compost, 12711 Springhetti Road, Snohomish

Yard waste only. No sod, dirt, or rocks.


Cedar Grove Composting, 3620 36th Place NE, Everett

Additional locations in Woodinville and Kenmore.

No wood or limbs greater than 4 inches in diameter; no noxious weeds


Lenz Enterprises, 5210 State Route 532, Stanwood

No mixed loads, treated lumber, dirt, or rocks


No mixed loads, treated lumber, dirt, or rocks

Pacific Topsoils, 805 80th St. SW, Everett

No mixed loads, plywood, or treated lumber


Reece Aggregates and Recycling, 5802 Cemetery Road, Arlington

No treated lumber or garbage


Riverside Topsoils 7404 404 Lowell Snohomish River Road, Snohomish

No treated wood, pallets, dimensional lumber


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