Ty Swenson
Crew members from the existing South Transfer Station smile and break ground on Nov. 22. at the site of the new station, slated for completion in June of 2012.

Groundbreaking ceremony kicks off construction of new South Transfer Station

New station promises quicker service, less environmental impact and better conditions for workers

Howling winds and sideways snow flurries did not deter Seattle Public Utility, Mortenson Construction and South Park community members from gathering at the future site of the new South Transfer Station (right next door to the existing one) to officially break ground for the project on Nov. 22.

The weather did, however, make for a very short ceremony.

For more background on the station, check out this story from the Herald on Nov. 11.

The $50 million waste transfer station is expected to be finished in June of 2012. The 140,500 sq. foot two-story building is designed to speed up private, city and business dump runs, provide a much improved facility for city workers and lessen noise and odor pollution as an enclosed building, according to project manager Henry Friedman of Seattle Public Utilities.

“This is the first time that the city has built a new transfer station since 1965,” Friedman said to the bundled up crowd, clutching hot tea and coffee. “It’s been in planning for over ten years and I’m so glad we made it to this point.”

“It’s just time,” he added. “We’re really running out of bubble gum and bailing wire to hold the old station together so this is very timely that we are putting in a new facility.”

A spokesman from Mortenson Construction, who will head the construction effort and designed the building along with SPU designers, said, “We believe we have designed a facility that will achieve a new efficiency standard for disposal and recycling in our region.”

A spokesman for SPU field operations, otherwise known as the workers who run the existing dump, said the new facility will improve their day-to-day operations greatly.

“It will be a tool that allows them to do a much better job with much less stress,” he said. “It’s been a long time coming and I really want to see it for them.”

Three different groups picked up shovels to break ground, including the facility designers from SPU and Mortenson, the South Park stakeholders who were involved in community input over the ten years of making the station a reality and workers from the existing facility.

Due to low temperatures, construction workers broke up a section of ground prior to the ceremony to ensure the shovels could make an impact.

Don Demulling, a representative from the Iron Workers Local 86 union, attended the meeting to express his concern that the outer structure bid was given to Erectors, Inc out of Oregon, who recently told Demulling they planned to bring 30 workers from Oregon instead of hiring anyone local.

To read the approval report for the new transfer station, please click here.

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