The dump is FASCINATING and doesn't smell as bad as you think (though there is an odor that you are glad to be away from when you leave).
How it works-
1) you drive in and they weigh your vehicle on a truck scale and give you a gift card looking thing with a barcode.
2) you wait in a line briefly, and then back your vehicle (usually a truck) into a parking stall that abuts a huge pit (like 2 swimming pools huge).
3) you scoop all your debris out of the truck bed into the pit.
4) there's some dude with a Caterpillar (tm) scoopy truck moving your garbage around and crunching over your small items down there in the pit, even as you're dropping fuckin' recliners and 2 x 4s into the pit. there's that element of danger- what if someone dumps a dresser or something big into the pit and hits the Caterpillar (tm) and injures the driver? Of course I'd never attempt such a thing, but there are 6 other people dumping recliners and concrete chunks into the pit at the same time you are, so it's a very bustling scene.
5) after you're done dumping, you are weighed again and they scan your gift card thingy- your beginning weight minus your end weight determines your fee. you can dump from 1-300ish lbs for $25. I was charged $26, which made me feel like I'd gotten a good value, since you pay the same to dump 20 lbs as you would to dump 200 lbs.
Two funny things about the dump:
1) like the airport, the dump has a radio frequency you can tune into when driving up to get info about the dump and its rules/fees. Suddenly, I dreamed of being the DJ for WDMP, Dump Radio. I would start every show with "Garbage Man" by The Cramps and play songs by Dumptruck, Garbage, and the Trashcan Sinatras in between my helpful announcements about how to throw away your cat.
2) On throwing away your cat:
The dump has helpful list of unacceptable trash. Most of these are obvious (hazardous waste, oil tanks, asbestos, etc), but this one made me chuckle:
Over 15 pounds not accepted. Call Animal Control at (206) 386-4254.
So you can scoop a few dead kittens into the pit, but not your fatso 16 pound neutered male that sleeps on your warm TV all day. The two thoughts I had on this rule is 1) who's going to weigh it? If my fat cat dies and I can't bury him, do I really want to weigh his carcass before driving to the dump? If he's too heavy, will I have to leave the dump with him (after already attracting the dump's flies) and call animal control? 2) doesn't animal control have enough to deal with with pit bull attacks, elderly cat hoarders, and ya know, living animals? Assuming that they do, how long is it going to take them to come pick up my 20 pound dead pet who isn't in danger of giving anyone rabies?
also, the south seattle dump does not yet seem to sport a "people love us on yelp" sticker, although there are a surprising amount of dump reviews in the area:
In conclusion, the dump provides a cathartic experience in getting rid of crap you don't want in your alleyway and an insider glimpse of how disposable our material culture really is. Recommended.
*to the dump, to the dump, to the dump, dump dump....or can you think of the William Tell overture WITHOUT thinking of the Lone Ranger?
** I think this name is overly ambiguous, because it doesn't imply WHAT is being transferred. the place at your college where you see if the credits from your last school are valid could be a transfer station, as could a place that converts your VHS to DVD, or the station on the subway where you can get on another train. When I moved to this area, the highway signs that said "transfer station" mystified me and I couldn't even guess what they referred to. The other phrase that was equally non-contextual was "Pull Tabs". If the signs said "Garbage transfer station", then at least I'd have had a clue.