Trash Mountain Could Burst into Flames Any Minute

How supply chain disruptions and staffing shortages created a ticking time bomb.

Problems, just like garbage, tend to pile up. And in Snohomish County, Washington, they have a whole lot of both at the moment.

Public works officials in Everett said a 45-foot-tall trash mountain has sprung up in one of the city’s transfer stations, and that it’s now just five feet from the ceiling. That stinks, but to make matters worse, officials said they have staff watching the steaming pile 24 hours a day since it could burst into flames at any moment.

Solid Waste Director Dave Schonhard told The Daily Herald that the fire concern comes from microorganisms eating the refuse and generating heat. Since no one can tell a microorganism when to stop chowing down on garbage, there’s a very real possibility for spontaneous combustion within this festering junk heap.

According to KIRO 7 News, the issue stems from not having enough people to move the trash and not having enough spots to put it. The county relies on trains with empty shipping containers to move the garbage from the railyard to a nearby landfill. But staffing shortages and likely supply chain disruptions have limited the amount of shipping containers that can be transferred over to the railyard. On top of that, the Burlington Northern railway also has staffing shortages.

Four-thousand tons of smelly garbage is obviously a huge problem and one that may cost as much as $2 million to fix. That’s because the county may have to use waste management containers to transport the garbage south to Oregon instead, which will eat into emergency funds.

So recycle, reuse and rejoice that you do not have a smoldering tower of trash in your town.

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