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Three sites to be studied in an environmental review
King County's Solid Waste Division has identified two sites in Kirkland and one in Woodinville as potential locations for its Northeast Recycling and Transfer Station Project. We will study the three sites, along with a no-action alternative, in a formal environmental review this fall. This process will include opportunities for public comment. The site alternatives that will be studied in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) include:

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Learn moreexternal link about the Northeast Recycling & Transfer Station project.

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A new modern transfer station to expand recycling services and make waste disposal more convenient and accessible

To meet the region's growing demand for environmentally responsible waste management services, King County's Solid Waste Division plans to site, design, and build a modern transfer station in northeast King County. The new station will replace the aging Houghton Transfer Station in Kirkland, which has been in service since the mid-1960s and is unable to offer the recycling services customers increasingly need and want. The new facility will also make recycling and waste disposal services more convenient for many customers in this area who currently must drive 30 minutes or more to reach a transfer station or drop box.

Set to open in 2029, this new station will be fully enclosed to control noise and odors, and community members will have opportunities to help shape decisions on station design, amenities, and services.

Since 2019, we have worked closely with the cities of Redmond, Woodinville, Sammamish, Kirkland, and unincorporated King County to understand community needs, interests, and values. Through this partnership, we developed criteria to narrow the list of potential sites to three.

What's next

The environmental review process will start with "scoping" in fall 2022. During scoping, the public will be able to tell the project team what should be studied in an environmental impact statement (EIS). People can comment on the proposed siting alternatives and the potential environmental and community impacts, and propose mitigation to reduce or avoid impacts.

King County will then prepare a Draft EIS, scheduled for public review and comment in 2023. The EIS will identify and analyze:

  • Probable adverse environmental impacts of the project
  • Reasonable alternatives
  • Possible mitigation

We will continue to work with the public during the siting, design, and construction of the project to understand and respond to questions and concerns. There will be opportunities for public input to ensure the new station is a good neighbor and community asset.

Proposed project schedule
(For more information, see Detailed project schedule)

Why is a new recycling & garbage transfer station needed?

The Houghton Transfer Station in Kirkland is one of our busiest transfer stations, but it lacks many recycling services and it’s too old and small to expand.

Replacing the Houghton station will make services more convenient and accessible, and it will also help keep recyclables out of the landfill. The need for a new station was identified in the 2019 Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan, which was adopted by 24 cities and the Washington State Department of Ecology.

What is a recycling & garbage transfer station?

King County recycling and garbage transfer stations are where residents, businesses, and waste haulers bring garbage and recyclable materials. Garbage is taken to the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill. Recyclable materials are trucked to private companies and made into new products. Learn where your curbside recyclables and garbage go Download PDF 150 K.

Learn moreexternal link about what modern recycling and transfer stations look like and the expanded services they offer.

Watch this flyover video Youtube of our newest station, the South County Recycling & Transfer Station.

The new station will be a modern, enclosed facility that meets the latest environmental standards and best practices

The new station will provide convenient, accessible recycling services for a variety of items and materials

A new station will provide convenient, accessible recycling services for metal, appliances, yard waste, wood, cardboard, glass, paper, plastics, and other items

Recycling services will include:

  • Metals
  • Appliances
  • Yard waste
  • Wood
  • Glass
  • Paper
  • Plastics
  • Other items such as mattresses and household hazardous waste, depending on design and service decisions the community will help influence.

Stay informed, stay involved

  • Newsletters, emails, and texts
    To get the latest project updates by email or text, sign up for our eNewsletter through our free Gov Delivery service external link . Learn about upcoming meetings, comment opportunities, and other ways to share input and help shape decision making. You can sign up or opt out at any time.
  • Speakers Bureau
    Ask a member on the project team to give a presentation to your organization or group.
  • Advisory groups
    Follow the progress of the Siting Advisory Group.
  • Diverse voices welcome
    Because diversity leads to stronger decision making, we especially hope to involve people who have been historically underrepresented and underserved, including communities of color, Tribes, people with disabilities, immigrants, and people who speak English less than well.

We want to make sure your values and concerns are represented, and hear your ideas about the siting, design, construction, and operation of a new station.

Contact us to ask questions, or to request information in alternate formats or languages:
Email: Northeast@kingcounty.gov email the Northeast Recycling & Transfer Station team
Phone: 206-477-4466 or 711 TTY Relay

Overview of site selection process

King County is using a six-step process to guide the site selection process. The process includes engagement between King County Solid Waste Division and the following:

  • Representatives from the four northeast "Core Cities" of Kirkland, Redmond, Sammamish, and Woodinville
  • King County's Department of Local Services
  • Members of the community-based siting advisory group (SAG)
    • The SAG began meeting in October 2020 and is providing input on what to consider while siting a new station
  • 3,000+ community members who completed online surveys about siting the new station

In late 2019, our staff began a preliminary search for sites, assessing the universe of potential sites in the study area. Three distinct types of criteria Download PDF 100 K were developed to narrow the list of sites:

  1. Pass/Fail Criteria and Geographic Information System (GIS) filters - Used to identify an initial 200+ sites
  2. Broad Area Site Screening Criteria to narrow sites to five or fewer
  3. Focused Site Screening to compare sites using functional criteria
Northeast Recycling and Transfer Station site selection overview

Overview of site selection process
(enlarge imageenlarge)

At this stage in the siting process, King County is not planning to acquire new properties and will not consider doing so until after we complete the environmental review process.

In a heavily-developed region like northeast King County, it can be difficult to find land. Finding a suitable site for an essential public facility is even more challenging. These sites have to be in a location that is:

  • Near the communities they serve
  • Accessible to major transportation corridors

They also have to meet certain size, shape, and topographical characteristics.

There are many factors to consider when determining which sites advance in the process. Prior to the environmental review), King County analyzed sites by:

  • cost
  • technical feasibility
  • transportation access
  • community needs
  • environmental considerations

All sites were evaluated using the same criteriaDownload PDF 150 K,. Each has tradeoffs and benefits to consider.

Site selection and environmental review process

Step 1: Potential site identification

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology was used to identify all of the parcels within the study area using information from the King County Assessor map. This initial step identified over 70,000 parcels in the study area.

  • Pass/Fail criteria were developed to establish minimum standards for potential sites to quality for further analysis.
  • Geographic Information System (GIS) filters were then used to identify sites for further analysis. These GIS filters were not absolute criteria like the pass/fail criteria; they included size, zoning, proximity to major arterials, and property cost.

Next, the project team used a series of pass/fail and GIS criteria to narrow the list of parcels, initially focused on single parcels between eight and 20 acres. To confirm that all viable options in the study area were identified the pass/fail and GIS criteria were applied to parcels between two and eight acres in size. While perhaps too small on their ownsome might be combined for a potential site. After applying all of the pass/fail and GIS criteria, 206 potential sites remained for deeper analysis.

Learn more about the King County GIS Center.

Step 2: Broad area site screening

The second step in the siting process was Broad Area Site Screening or BASS. The project team started with the list of 206 potential sites and narrowed the list further, using more refined criteria such as appraised value , environmental constraints, land use, and nearby receptors including schools, high- traffic retail such as malls, and campuses such as Microsoft.

Reviewing against the criteria, the project team narrowed the list to 15 and scored the top 15 sites based on the BASS criteria. The County then chose four sites to advance to Focused Site Screening.

Step 3: Focused area site screening

The top four sites were reviewed against a series of functional criteria that were developed by the project team with input from regional stakeholders. These criteria were more specific than previous steps and included items such as equitable distribution of facilities, cost, traffic impacts, site access, and transportation and utilities.

Yet more criteria were developed by members of the Siting Advisory Group (SAG). Their community-specific criteria included items such as best travel times, minimal impacts to underserved communities, reasonable cost, and least potential community impact.

Step 4: Comparative evaluation

  • Technical input from the project team and community input from the Core Cities, siting advisory group, and community surveys informed King County's selection of sites to be evaluated in the environmental review process.
  • After comparative evaluation, three sites were selected for evaluation in environmental review

Step 5: Environmental review

King County’s Solid Waste Division has identified two sites in Kirkland and one in Woodinville as potential locations for its Northeast Recycling and Transfer Station Project. The three sites, along with a no-action alternative, will be studied in a formal environmental review process this fall that will include public comment opportunities.

The site alternatives that will be studied in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) are:

  • A 12.9 acre-site comprised of six properties in the 15000 block of Woodinville-Redmond Rd. NE in Woodinville
  • The current Houghton Transfer Station property at 11724 NE 60th St. in Kirkland
  • The Houghton Park-and-Ride property at 7024 116th Ave. NE in Kirkland

The EIS will evaluate the potential environmental and community impacts of the project and propose mitigation to avoid or minimize impacts. The environmental review begins with “scoping” this fall, which will provide opportunity for the public to comment on what the project team should study in the EIS. The public will also be able to submit formal comments on the alternatives evaluated in the draft EIS.
For more information on the environmental review process, please visit the Washington Department of Ecologyexternal link

Step 6: Decision

The Solid Waste Division Director will take the results of the environmental review, financial information, the equity impact report and the socio-economic analysis into account when making the final decision on the location for the future northeast recycling and transfer station.

Community involvement

Initial outreach

  • 11 stakeholder interviews conducted
  • Information mailers sent to 115,000+ addresses
  • Press release sent to local and regional news outlets
  • E-newsletter updates sent to project subscribers
  • Updates shared on social media channels

Broad Area Site Screening community engagement

In fall 2020, community members were asked about their use of the existing Houghton Transfer Station in Kirkland and their thoughts on impacts and benefits of a new station. See survey results hereDownload PDF 125 K. The Siting Advisory Groupused that input to develop community criteria for evaluating the top four possible sites for the new station.

  • Fall 2020 community survey
  • Informational mailers sent to 115,000+ homes and businesses
  • Advertisements in northeast King County
  • E-newsletter updates sent to 1,000+ project subscribers
  • Updates shared on social media channels

Focused Site Screening community engagement

In winter 2021, King County announced a list of four possible sites for the new facility. Community members were asked about their knowledge of those sites and any information for King County to consider when evaluating them. See survey results hereDownload PDF 300 K.

  • Winter 2021 community survey
  • Postcard mailer to 115,000+ homes and businesses to invite survey participation
    • 2,431 survey responses
  • Two press releases to local and regional news outlets
  • Briefings to local community groups:
    • South Rose Hill Neighborhood Association
    • Houghton Community Council
    • Woodinville Wine Country Board of Directors
    • Rotary Club of Downtown Kirkland

Siting Advisory Group

In fall 2020, the project team recruited community representatives for the Siting Advisory Group (SAG), a community-based group that advises King County on where to site the new station and what to consider while making that decision. To ensure widerepresentation, the SAG is comprised of both appointed and at-large seats. Appointed seats were held for specific interests and organizations, and at-large seats were filled by community members through an application process. The SAG has 21 members Download PDF 145 K.

Members of the SAG meet regularly to learn about the siting process and provide their insights to the County. SAG members are expected to share information about the process with their communities. SAG members listen to community concerns and hopes and share them with the County throughout the site selection process.

SAG meetings are open to members of the public, who can observe and make comments to the group at each meeting. Due to Covid-19, all meetings are currently planned to be held virtually.

See Project schedule for list of SAG meeting dates. All SAG meetings will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Meeting notes will be posted on this website after each meeting.

  • SAG meeting #8 – May 19, 2022, 6-8:30 p.m.
  • SAG meeting #7 – August 9, 2021, 6-8:30 p.m.
  • SAG meeting #6 – April 28, 2021
  • SAG meeting #5 – March 17, 2021
  • SAG meeting #4 – Feb. 3, 2021
  • SAG meeting #3 – Dec. 16, 2020
  • SAG meeting #2 – Nov. 18, 2020
  • SAG meeting # 1 – Oct. 28, 2020
  • SAG Kick-off meeting – Oct. 14, 2020
  • Project library

    Detailed project schedule

      Updated July 2022 (subject to change)

    Date Actions/events/public engagement
    Sept - Oct 2020 Recruit community members for Siting Advisory Group
    Oct 14, 2020 Siting Advisory Group kick-off meeting – welcomed advisory group members, provided an overview of the solid waste system and siting process. Discussed community values.
    Oct 28, 2020 Siting Advisory Group Meeting #1 – reviewed top 15 sites and considerations for screening the sites.
    Oct 30 - Nov 20, 2020 Fall 2020 public survey - survey to identify knowledge of the project, use of the current facility, and their views on the impacts and benefits of siting a new facility.
    Nov 18, 2020 Siting Advisory Group Meeting #2 – reviewed community input from fall 2020 public survey and developed community criteria and scoring measures.
    Dec 16, 2020 Siting Advisory Group Meeting #3 – finalized community criteria and scoring measures, introduced to criteria weighting.
    Jan 20 - Feb 18, 2021 Winter 2021 public survey (results to be posted soon) – survey to provide information on top 4 sites and prioritize community criteria
    Feb 3, 2021 Siting Advisory Group Meeting #4 – developed criteria weighting, reviewed top 4 sites and preliminary scoring of sites.
    March 17, 2021 Siting Advisory Group Meeting #5 – review community input from winter 2021 public survey, finalize weighting and scoring, rank order of top 4 sites.
    March 31, 2021 King County identifies three sites to study in an environmental review
    April 28, 2021 Siting Advisory Group Meeting #6 – overview of County-selected sites and upcoming environmental review.
    Aug 9, 2021 Siting Advisory Group Meeting #7 – apply community criteria to evaluate potential new site
    May 12, 2022 Public Open House and Information Session – learn more about the project, meet the project team, and get questions answered by joining the public open house
    May 19, 2022 Siting Advisory Group meeting #8 – review siting data, review top 4 sites and rank order of top 4 sites
    Aug/Sept 2022 Begin environmental review process.
    Nov/Dec 2022 Seek Public input on what to study in environmental review (“Scoping” public comment period)
    Nov 2022 Siting Advisory Group #9 – provide input on Environmental Impact Statement Scoping
    Feb 2023 Issue Final Project Description and Action Alternatives
    Fall 2023 Issue Draft Environmental Impact Statement and seek public input
    Fall 2023 Siting Advisory Group Meeting #10 – provide input on Draft Environmental Impact Statement
    Spring 2024 Issue final Environmental Impact Statement
    Mid 2024 Site for new station is selected
    Mid 2024 - late 2024 Property acquisition
    Mid 2024 – mid 2027 Facility design and permitting
    Mid 2027 – mid 2029 Construction
    Mid 2029 Facility opens to the public

    Project contacts

    If you have questions or comments about the project, please contact the project manager or call the Solid Waste Division.

    Project manager

    Mary O’Hara email the Northeast Recycling & Transfer Station project – Project manager
    King County Solid Waste Division
    Telephone: 206-263-2673, TTY Relay: 711

    King County Solid Waste Division
    Telephone: 206-477-4466, TTY Relay: 711

    Contact Us

     Call: 206-477-4466

    TTY Relay: 711

    King County Solid Waste Division mission: Waste Prevention, Resource Recovery, Waste Disposal