Justin Hottel inspects the locks on containers after they were loaded on to a train bound for Eastern Washington in Everett on Tuesday. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

Justin Hottel inspects the locks on containers after they were loaded on to a train bound for Eastern Washington in Everett on Tuesday. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

2 garbage industry giants vie for Snohomish County contract

EVERETT — It’s time for trash talk in Snohomish County.

For several years, two behemoths of the waste-disposal industry have been angling for the job of hauling the county’s garbage to a distant landfill.

Republic Services, formerly known as Allied Waste, has been doing the work since the early 1990s. Republic wants to keep the contract. Its chief rival, Waste Management, hopes to take over.

It’s the biggest single financial decision the county is likely to make anytime soon. Over 20 years, the contract could pay a half-billion dollars. A recommendation is expected as soon as next week.

“This is an essential service to the community,” county solid waste director Matt Zybas said. “We’re a utility that’s providing safe and efficient disposal of waste.”

Zybas is part of an evaluation team poring over bids that Waste Management and Republic Services turned in this spring. They’re scoring the proposals to help the County Council decide whether to start further negotiations with one company or the other. Their conclusion could come out during the council’s public works committee meeting, scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday. The panel making the recommendation also includes representatives from local cities, the Snohomish Health District and the Boeing Co.

Republic’s existing contract is set to expire in May of next year.

Garbage picked up at curb sides throughout Snohomish County gets carted off to county transfer stations in Everett, Mountlake Terrace and Arlington. Waste Management and Republic contract for that work in different parts of the county, along with some smaller disposal companies.

At the transfer stations, county workers compact the trash and place it into shipping containers. Tractor-trailer drivers haul the containers, each weighing nearly 30 tons, to a rail yard in northeast Everett.

“We do approximately 60-some containers per day,” said J.R. Myers with the county’s Solid Waste Division.

Republic Services takes over at the rail yard, where the containers get loaded onto trains bound for the company’s landfill in Roosevelt, nearly 300 miles to the east, near the Columbia River. The Roosevelt Regional Landfill covers more than 2,500 acres, about two and a half times the surface area of Lake Stevens.

Waste Management operates a nearby landfill south of the Columbia River, in the community of Arlington, Oregon.

Both companies have considerable clout. Waste Management, based in Houston, is the biggest player in the industry, but Phoenix-based Republic also appears on the Fortune 500 list.

The county now is paying Republic nearly $25 million per year to haul off about 500,000 tons of trash. The volume of waste has gone up with the strong economy.

A new contract would last for 10 years, with two possible five-year extensions.

The county started contracting for long-haul garbage service in 1992, after its Cathcart Landfill near Snohomish ran out of space and had to close. The initial arrangement was with Rabanco, which Allied Waste later acquired.

That contract had been set to expire in May 2013, but the County Council decided to extend the deadline by five years. The extension was the source of acrimony between the council and then-County Executive Aaron Reardon, who wanted to put the work out to bid sooner.

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

Talk to us

More in Local News

Police respond in downtown Everett after a man collapsed with a gunshot wound Nov. 27, 2021. He later died. (Caleb Hutton / Herald file)
Everett police continue to investigate November killing

Jerome Burnett, 48, died at the hospital. A suspect fled, according to police.

An alleged impaired driver hit and killed two adults Thursday morning at the intersection of 204th Street NE and Highway 9. (Arlington Police Department)
2 pedestrians die after being hit by allegedly impaired driver

The two adults were struck in Arlington around 2:30 a.m. Thursday at an intersection on Highway 9.

Judge: Sex abuse of former Marysville student violated law

A woman sued the district last year, accusing a longtime art teacher of sexual abuse in the 1980s.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Stanwood in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Regulators OK doubling of composting operation in Stanwood

Lenz Enterprises can now handle 150,000 tons a year. Residents worry odors will be a problem.

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
Democrats ready to ditch the other ‘grand bargain’ of 2021

Here’s what’s happening on Day 10 of the 2022 session of the Washington Legislature.

Darrell Cain, Pierce College Puyallup president and incoming Everett Community College interim president
Pierce College Puyallup president picked to lead EvCC for now

Everett Community College’s board chose Darrell Cain as its interim president.

Michael Jensen, left, and Nathan Jensen, right, pick up trash in their encampment that they being forced to clear out of by Parks Department the near Silver Lake on Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Annual homeless count could shed light on pandemic’s impact

Snohomish County canceled its 2021 point-in-time count. Officials hope this year’s will bring clarity.

Closing this bedroom door during an apartment fire in Everett helped contain flames, smoke and carbon monoxide, firefighters say. (Everett Fire Department) 20220120
Crucial move during Everett fire: Closing the bedroom door

Two residents were rescued from a bedroom at the Riverdale Apartments. In all, three were injured.

vote
Ballots sent for special election on public schools’ funding

Levies to pay for staff, programs, computers and capital projects are on the Feb. 8 ballot across Snohomish County.

Most Read