About Us

Jefferson County Public Works manages the county-wide solid waste program. The solid waste program is funded almost entirely 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.  99% of operating expenses are paid for with the fee we charge for garbage disposal.  Levels of service are balanced with the goal of maintaining current tipping fees at a rate that all our customers can afford.  

Solid Waste

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 either Renton or Chehalis, and then loaded onto railcars to complete a 345 mile journey for final disposal at Republic Services’ Roosevelt Regional Landfill in Klickitat County.

Closed Landfill

Groundwater monitoring around the closed landfill at the Jacob Miller Road site is conducted annually by a licensed hydrogeologist and a report on groundwater quality is submitted to the local health authority and Department of Ecology.  Public Works has  been at the leading edge of biological digestion of methane gas generated from the decomposition of buried organic material in closed landfills.  Our pioneering work has been featured in industry trade journals and an EPA bulletin. 

Household & Business Hazardous Waste

From 1997 to September 30, 2022, Jefferson County Public Works operated a Moderate Risk Waste Facility in the the Port of Port Townsend Boat Haven. At the Port’s request, Public Works closed the facility in late 2022. Residents and businesses may now dispose of hazardous waste at separate collection events, which are held throughout the county and throughout the year.

Collecting and properly disposing household hazardous waste is expensive and adds to the cost of garbage disposal. Many 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 four sites between Quilcene and Port Townsend for free recycling. For site locations and hours see page 2 of our current Recycling 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.

Yard Debris

Through an interlocal agreement, Jefferson  County hosts the City of Port Townsend’s Compost 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.

Junk Vehicles

Public Works provided initial funding for Public Health’s junk vehicles removal program, using income from the disposal facilities.

Illegal Dumping

Public Works lends financial support to Public Health’s illegal dumping clean-up program through a transfer of funds from the Solid Waste Fund in the amount 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 staff through an interagency agreement.  Education and outreach includes what materials are accepted in our recycling program and classes on backyard composting techniques.   Beginning in 2023, our focus will be on keeping food waste out of the solid waste stream.  Our first step will be rescuing food from retailers and producers and redirecting it to our food banks.

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. For more info visit the SWAC page or contact Al Cairns, Solid Waste Manager, at 360-385-9160 or acairns@co.jefferson.wa.us.