Scott Reed, of Stanwood, hoists a container of garbage out of his truck at the North County Transfer Station in Arlington on Thursday. The station collects, processes and offloads approximately 335 tons of waste each day. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

Scott Reed, of Stanwood, hoists a container of garbage out of his truck at the North County Transfer Station in Arlington on Thursday. The station collects, processes and offloads approximately 335 tons of waste each day. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

County to seek bids for new garbage hauling contract

EVERETT — Snohomish County leaders are preparing to make what could be one of their most important business decisions for years to come: A garbage-hauling contract that could reach a half-billion dollars over two decades.

The county plans to advertise the work early next month. Bids are due in April.

“We’re looking to make a decision in late summer or early fall,” solid waste director Matt Zybas said.

The County Council voted 5-0 Wednesday to move ahead with the bidding process. As the council took action, representatives from trash-industry titans Waste Management and Republic Services sat in the audience.

Those companies, and perhaps others, are likely to make a play for the the long-haul work. The contract would run for 10 years. The county would have the option of two five-year extensions.

Republic Services, formerly Allied Waste, is doing that work now. It moves trash by train to a landfill in Roosevelt in Klickitat County. County workers compress trash into bales at county transfer stations in Arlington, Everett and Mountlake Terrace, then truck the material to a rail yard in north Everett for the journey east.

That garbage contract had been set to expire in 2013, but the council in 2012 authorized an extension of up to five years.

The dollar amount varies per year, based on volume. Recently, it’s been $20 million to $25 million, Zybas said.

The county generated more than 484,000 tons of trash last year.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @NWhaglund.

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