Tucked between N 34th St and N 35th St just across Stone Way there is a large open-air building with a modest sign reading “North Recycling & Disposal Station” underscored by the “City of Seattle.” Many drivers and passerby over the years have easily overlooked the structure. Locals often picture Stone Way and then make the mental leap to Wallingford Ave, with just a couple of businesses in between. They all passed unaware that only yards away lay the Seattle Public Utilities North Transfer Station, more colloquially known as “the dump.”
That title though is rather misleading. True, customers “dumped” items to be disposed of but the true purpose of a transfer station, of which Seattle has two, is quite different from a large pit of waste typically pictured when a “dump” is mentioned. Transfer stations developed out of a need to consolidate the city’s waste before transporting the waste to out-of-town landfills. Collection trucks and self-haul customers alike utilize these transfer stations which are considered more affordable and accessible than private collection sites.
On January 20th at 5:30PM the North transfer station closed permanently, at least until 2016. The site will undergo a major upgrade, part of SPU’s current Solid Waste Management Plan. The current facility will be demolished and replaced with “a more modern and efficient facility that will meet the growing future needs of the city” according to the project website. The updated facility will include new weight stations, transfer center, recycling center, and a green space to be shared with the public.
What change does this bring to Fremont? Well aside from losing one of Seattle’s “hidden gems”, having a transfer center close is quite convenient so residents of Fremont, Wallingford, and the other North Seattle neighborhoods will have to utilize other disposal options. Seattle Public Utilities recommends two options for customers:
a) Take advantage of one of these SPU programs that may help eliminate a trip to the transfer station.
b) Use the new South Transfer Station facility located at 130 South Kenyon Street, just two blocks north of the old South transfer station.
So until 2016 let us bid “the dump” adieu! And keep an eye open for any overflowing trash piles…
For more information about the North Transfer Station Project visit the project site here.