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Northeast Recycling & Transfer Station Draft EIS Open House

Welcome to the online open house for the Northeast Recycling and Transfer Station project (NERTS). This open house is focused on the project’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which contains studies of two potential site alternatives and a no-action alternative for the future Northeast Recycling and Transfer Station. Public comment for the Draft EIS closed April 9, 2024.

Project introduction

Currently, trash and recycling haulers, residents, and businesses within northeast King County use the Factoria and Houghton Transfer Stations to dispose of their landfill waste and recycling. The Houghton Station in Kirkland is one of our busiest transfer stations, but it lacks many recycling services and it has outlived its useful life. 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.

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.

Needs and benefits

Wherever it is located, the new Northeast Recycling and Transfer Station will actually have fewer impacts than the current Houghton Station.

  • Trash compacting equipment will make hauling more efficient and reduce the number of commercial trucks needed to move garbage to the landfill. It will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions and vehicle exhaust.
  • The new station will be built to the latest environmental standards, featuring green design certifications to reduce energy consumption and emissions.
  • The new station will be enclosed and equipped with technologies to control dust and odors.
  • With King County’s Re+ efforts, the goal is to take less garbage at the stations that is the primary cause of odors and pests. Food waste and yard debris that smells as it decomposes has economic value. Ideally, it should go to a facility where it can be made into compost and used in soil, not a transfer station. Finding ways to divert food waste from the county’s landfills is one of our top priorities.
  • Depending on the selected location, we’ll work to include environmental improvements such as wetlands/habitat enhancements and creek daylighting to offset any impacts identified in the EIS that may happen at the site once it’s built. This is called mitigation. Examples of other mitigation measures on county capital projects include roadway or sidewalk improvements, passive or active recreation elements such as trail enhancements or play areas, community meeting space and environmental education opportunities, and enhanced architectural features such as bioswales.
  • A new, modern station closer to your business would make recycling and waste disposal more convenient for you and your suppliers and vendors. Depending on where the station is located you may even have lower garbage bills because of reduced hauling costs.

Learn more about this project

The Seattle North Transfer Station located in the Wallingford neighborhood. The Wallingford community was involved during the design of the station.
The Seattle North Transfer Station located in the Wallingford neighborhood. The Wallingford community was involved during the design of the station.

A transfer station is a facility at a central location where garbage can be hauled and disposed of prior to being transported to our Cedar Hills Regional Landfill. Recycling can also be dropped off and sorted before being picked up by recycling processors. Before modern design advances, transfer stations were often called dumps. Modern stations offer newer technology such as noise and odor control and community amenities.
Our newer facilities are enclosed to contain airflow and odors. We install dust and odor control and odor eating enzymes can be added to reduce the smell even further. Our modern stations are walled in with sound barriers to further contain noise. We add more space for compacting machines to reduce the number of trips to the landfill daily and additional lanes to allow vehicles to queue up on the station property and not on the streets.

Modern stations are designed to fit the feel of their neighborhood and reflect their surroundings. Buildings can look like business facilities or even community centers and offer neighborhood amenities. While NERTS is in design, we will continue to work with the community and share updates on the project at key milestones.

2019: Comprehensive Plan
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 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.

Fall 2019: Project Kickoff/Siting begins
King County Solid Waste Division began meeting with the Kirkland, Redmond, Sammamish, Woodinville and Unincorporated King County representatives. This group was called the Core Cities. This group developed siting criteria based on 2006 Solid Waste Transfer and Waste Export System Plan, the South County Recycling and Transfer Station project, and feedback from northeast county stakeholders.

October 2020: Siting Advisory Group Convened
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 wide representation, 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.

Members of the SAG met 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.

July 2022: King County Solid Waste Action
King County Solid Waste Division identified three alternatives and a no action alternative to study in the Draft EIS:

  • A site composed 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

November 2022 to January 2023: SEPA Scoping Period
Based on the results of the siting process, the Solid Waste Division recommended three alternative sites in Kirkland and Woodinville. The public, Tribes, and other public agencies had the opportunity to share their thoughts on the three potential sites and environmental resources to evaluate in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, during the scoping comment period under the State Environmental Policy Act.

February 2023: King County SWD Removes Houghton Park and Ride
After receiving new information about planned development on a portion of the Houghton Park and Ride property, King County will remove the site as a candidate for further analysis in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Northeast Recycling and Transfer Station Project that’s scheduled for publication in fall 2023.

The current property owner, WSDOT, has plans for infrastructure improvements that will require about 25% of the north portion of the park and ride. Though WSDOT plans to surplus the rest of the parcel, the remaining available area will be too small to adequately accommodate a transfer station with the levels of service needed for this growing part of the service area.

March – April 2023: Revised SEPA Scoping Period
King County issued a revised scoping notice and held an additional 21-day public comment period to give agencies, tribes, and the public an opportunity to provide comments on the removal of the Houghton Park and Ride

April 2023 to February 2024: SEPA Draft EIS
King County prepared a Draft EIS under SEPA for NERTS, which assessed two potential site alternatives and a no action alternative for siting the Northeast Recycling and Transfer Station.

We are here: Draft EIS Public Comment Period
Now that the Draft EIS is published, we are sharing it with tribes, agency partners, jurisdiction stakeholders, social service providers, community organizations, and the general public to gather feedback on what we’ve found. This public comment period is open until April 9, 2024.

The DEIS Comment Period is open The DEIS is available for review and formal public comment from February 7, 2024, to April 9, 2024. During the DEIS public comment period, members of the public, agencies, tribes, businesses and organizations are invited to comment on the DEIS. The following elements are including in the DEIS review:

  • Earth
  • Air
  • Water
  • Hazardous Materials
  • Wetlands
  • Vegetation, Fish, and Wildlife
  • Energy and Natural Resources
  • Environmental Health
  • Land and Shoreline Use
  • Noise
  • Aesthetics, Light, and Glare
  • Historic and Cultural Resources
  • Transportation
  • Public Services and Utilities

When making a comment on the DEIS:

  • Address what the EIS has analyzed (natural and built environments). Comments unrelated to the scope of the EIS will not inform the SEPA process.
  • Include specific details and factual information as much as possible.
  • Identify your concern and suggest possible solutions.


Image of a funnel representing the site selection process for the NERTS project

Overview of site selection process (enlarge image)


Graphic depicting the schedule for the Northeast Recycling & Transfer Station project

What’s next?

  • April 2024 to Q3 2024: Final EIS
    King County will respond to, and summarize, the comments we receive from the Draft EIS comment period in a Final EIS.
  • Q4 2024: Site Selection
    King County Solid Waste will take into account the results of the environmental review, Equity Impact Report, Socioeconomic Impact Assessment, and project cost information into account when selecting the location for the new recycling and transfer station.
  • Q4 2024 to Q3 2027: Design and Permitting
  • 2027 to 2029: Construction
  • 2029: New Recycling and Transfer Station Opens

Environmental review

Enacted in 1971, the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) is a law that requires state and local agencies to identify the potential environmental impacts of proposed actions and plans through a formal review process. When potentially significant impacts are anticipated, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is required.

An EIS is a planning tool in the decision-making process to identity potentially significant environmental impacts, unavoidable impacts, mitigation measures, as well as indirect, cumulative, and construction-related impacts. An EIS does not authorize a specific action, nor does it recommend for or against a particular course of action.

Environmental impacts to be analyzed could include such things as Noise, Odor, Surface Water, Wildlife, Human Health, Transportation, and others relevant to the specific project and location. The SEPA review process is designed to help agency decision-makers and the public understand how a proposed action will affect the environment.

What is Scoping?
An EIS has several steps. The first is called “scoping.” Scoping identifies all the potential environmental impacts of a public agency decision, development, or project, like this one. Scoping helps narrow down and focus which significant environmental issues SWD will study. SWD identified alternatives and will evaluate how impacts will be addressed.

What is a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)?
The alternatives are then examined in a draft EIS (DEIS). The DEIS is distributed to public agencies (state, regional, city) and tribes, organizations, and the public for a review and comment period. Public hearings will be held following the issuance of the DEIS, to gather comments regarding the alternatives.

What is a Final EIS?
The final EIS (FEIS) is the third and final part of the EIS process. After analyzing public comments and any additional information, SWD will issue a FEIS.

SEPA requires agencies to consider a range of alternatives that meet the goals of their proposed plans. These include the proposed action alternatives and a no-action alternative, which looks at the impact of not taking action, or the status quo. Alternatives are important because they allow decision-makers and the public to compare the merits and impacts of different choices.

A proposal may include actions to avoid, reduce, repair, minimize, and/or monitor impacts—this is mitigation. An example would be designing a project to avoid sensitive habitat such as a wetland, or replanting trees and shrubs to restore disturbed areas after a project is completed.


Scroll through this section to learn about key features and impacts for each of the alternatives we studied. Once you’ve had a chance to review, submit a substantive comment to share your thoughts on what we found.

For a more detailed overview of the assessment, please explore the Draft EIS Executive Summary (also available in Spanish, Simplified Chinese, and Hindi). You can also dive deeper by jumping into the full Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Both the Executive Summary and full Draft EIS are available as a downloadable PDF. Please contact us at or 206-477-4466 if additional accessibility resources are required.

The site for Alternative 1 is located at 11724 NE 60th Street in Kirkland. Alternative 1 has two options:

  • Alternative 1A
    A facility constructed after the existing transfer station building is closed and demolished; and
  • Alternative 1B
    A facility constructed while the existing transfer station building is open and operating, and then closed and repurposed or replaced after the new station is open.
  • Alternative 2
    The site for Alternative 2 – Woodinville is located on six tax parcels in the 15000 block of Woodinville-Redmond Road NE in Woodinville on parcels 1526059086, 5711600010, 5711600020, 5711600030, 1526059094, and 1526059095.
  • No Action Alternative
    Under the No Action Alternative no changes would be made to the current Houghton Transfer Station.

Thank you

Thank you for engaging with the NERTS project and the Draft EIS! Public input is vital to developing a project that serves the needs of the community.

Reminder: If you’d like to provide testimony by speaking with a court reporter or speak with a project expert, please join us for one of our in-person or virtual public meetings.