How Do Dumps in Washington State Deal With Garbage?


Quick Answer

In Washington State, municipal or private haulers pick up residential waste and take it to a transfer station. Trash is compacted into bricks and placed in shipping containers. Train cars transport the shipping containers which eventually end up in landfills both in and out of state.

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Full Answer

Most solid waste in Washington State goes through a seven-step process before it reaches a landfill. Transfer facilities charge weight-based fees for transporting garbage. Once compacted and transported to the landfill, waste gets buried. There are different categories of municipal solid waste and waste treatment depends on the type. For example, King and Snohomish counties have multiple recycling and transfer stations for solid waste. Recyclable and salvageable materials are processed, and some waste is incinerated.

King County has one remaining landfill, the Cedar Hill Regional Landfill, which accepts compacted waste, takes it to the active section of the landfill and covers it with soil. Some counties have self-hauling options, and residents are responsible to take their garbage to transfer facilities.

Sanitary landfills replaced unlined garbage dumps. Compacted clay and composite liners prevent waste from leaching into the ground and groundwater. Since some of the landfills in Washington State are at capacity, the waste transfer system has per-ton rates for garbage transfer and disposal. Waste Management, Inc. operates several processing facilities for the state in Washington and Oregon.

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