Jefferson County Public Works manages the county-wide solid waste program.
As required by the State, solid waste operations must be financially self-sustaining. The program is funded by tipping fees charged for disposal at sites in Port Townsend and Quilcene with a relatively small portion through grants from the Department of Ecology. Levels of service must be balanced with the goal of maintaining current tipping fees.
The municipal long haul Solid Waste Transfer Station is located at the former County landfill off of Jacob Miller Road, just outside of the Port Townsend city limits. Jefferson County also operates a rural drop box site in Quilcene. Each year, more than 19,000 tons of municipal solid waste is disposed of through the County’s waste transfer system. The solid waste is packed into transmodal containers, trucked to Tacoma, loaded onto railcars to complete a 345 mile journey for final disposal at Republic Services’ Roosevelt Regional Landfill in Klickitat County.
Groundwater monitoring around the closed landfill at the Jacob Miller Road site is conducted quarterly, as well as management of the small amount of methane gas generated from the decomposition of buried organic material.
Household & Small Business Hazardous Waste
By agreement with the Port of Port Townsend, Jefferson County Public Works has operated a Moderate Risk Waste Facility in the the Boat Haven since 1997. The MRW program collects 55 tons of hazardous materials annually, including expired flares, old gasoline, solvents, oil-based paints, pool/spa chemicals, pesticides, corrosives, mercury thermostats, rechargeable batteries, used motor oil, antifreeze, and fluorescent lights that pose risks to human health and the environment when improperly disposed.
A significant part of the Solid Waste budget is used to manage household hazardous waste. Many of the hazardous products could be replaced by non-hazardous alternatives, reducing or eliminating the risk of harm to residents, sanitation workers and the environment. Learn more at King County’s Safer Alternatives website.
Public Works contracts with Skookum Contract Services to collect and process the County’s recyclables such as glass, paper and plastic. There are seven sites between Brinnon and Port Townsend for free recycling. For site locations and hours see page 2 of our current Recyling flyer.
Separated metals and automotive batteries brought to the Transfer Station are recycled (fees apply). Residential fluorescent light tubes, compact fluorescent bulbs, oil and antifreeze may be recycled free of charge at either the Moderate Risk Waste Facility in the Boat Haven or the Transfer Station’s Recycling Center.
Through an interlocal agreement, Jefferson County hosts the City of Port Townsend’s Biosolids Facility at the S. Jacob Miller Road site. This facility mixes ground yard debris, such as lawn clippings, small tree limbs and leaves with biosolids, from the City’s wastewater treatment plant, to produce compost which is made available for purchase by the public. More information on the compost facility can be found on the City’s Compost Facility website.
For examples of how you can manage yard debris in your own backyard, see Soils, Compost and Mulch, with information provided by WSU.
Public Works provided initial funding for Public Health’s junk vehicles removal program, using income from the disposal facilities.
Public Works lends financial support to Public Health’s Abatement program through an interagency transfer of one dollar per ton of municipal solid waste disposed of at our two collection sites. This assists Public Health in the clean-up of illegal dump sites throughout the county.
Solid Waste Education
Most of the Solid Waste education is conducted by Public Health through an interagency agreement. Solid Waste has partnerships with WSU Extension and OlyCAP to provide such things as classes on backyard composting techniques and relies on the work of several citizen-driven initiatives to help further educational outreach.
How can you get involved?
Public Works gets advice and guidance on solid waste from the Solid Waste Advisory Committee (SWAC).
This committee is composed of concerned citizens, businesses, and representatives of the City of Port Townsend and the Board of County Commissioners. Meetings are open to the public and regular meetings are held six times per year, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Jefferson County Department of Public Works conference room at 623 Sheridan Street, Port Townsend. Please join us and make your concerns and ideas heard.
2021 SWAC Regular Meeting Schedule
For more information about the SWAC please contact Al Cairns, Solid Waste Manager, at 360-385-9160 or firstname.lastname@example.org.