St. Louis County Environmental Services discontinues accepting waste from outside customers

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Environmental Services Department • 201 South 3rd Avenue West • Virginia, MN 55792
Phone: (218) 749-9703 or 1-800-450-9278 •

Mark St. Lawrence



April 23, 2020

CONTACT: Mark St. Lawrence, Environmental Services Director



St. Louis County Environmental Services limits access to residents only

St. Louis County Environmental Services solid waste drop-off sites have seen a significant increase in customers in recent weeks. While solid waste drop-off sites are considered an essential service that should remain open, the increased traffic is a concern as the county is trying to minimize public interaction for the safety of both visitors and staff. The increase in traffic is believed to be the result of a combination of factors: people who are staying at home have been cleaning and want to dispose of larger amounts of waste. Additionally, some neighboring counties have reduced disposal opportunities at their sites and the WLSSD Materials Recovery Center is temporarily closed, resulting in their customers driving to St. Louis County's drop-off sites.


The increase in traffic has created volume and safety issues for county staff. In response, the St. Louis County Solid Waste and Septic Subcommittee held an emergency meeting Wednesday, voting to stop accepting solid waste from residents living outside the St. Louis County Solid Waste Management Area, with the exception of the Northwoods Transfer Station in Ely. This action is effective immediately and will last the duration of Governor Walz’s Emergency Executive Orders. 


"This is not a decision we made lightly, because our goal is always to ensure trash is disposed of properly, no matter the source," said Mark St. Lawrence, St. Louis County Environmental Services Director. "But our priority right now has to be the health and safety of our staff and the citizens who live in our service area." 


Residents of the county's Solid Waste Management Area pay a fee for this service as part of their property taxes. The Environmental Services Department provides solid waste services for all of St. Louis County with the exception of that area served by the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District. To learn more, visit


SW service area map