Jefferson County is currently conducting a planning process that will evaluate alternative solid waste facilities that will cost-effectively provide services to the community for the next 40 years. This website is where you can learn why changes are needed, what kind of benefits remodeled, or new solid waste facilities could provide, where they might be located, and how we could pay for them.

This website will allow you to follow the work of the Solid Waste Facilities Task Force (SWFTF) throughout the planning process. We will use the Feedback tool and conduct in-person activities to ask for your opinions.

You can read through the whole site or skim each page to get an idea of what is happening and when your thoughts are needed. And if you want to dig deeper, all relevant supporting documents will be available at this site.  

We are glad you are here. We hope you bookmark this page and return periodically to follow this roughly 12-month planning process . This project is about a facility that affects virtually everyone in our county. You can get email updates when new information becomes available by signing up for project updates in the box below. If you have questions about the site or the project, please be in touch, via our contact information below.

Questions? Al Cairns, Jefferson County Solid Waste Division Manager.
Email: acairns@co.jefferson.wa.us

Next Meeting

The Solid Waste Facilities Task Force will be meeting on July 28, from 11:00 am to 12:15 pm and again from 12:45 to 2:45 pm. They will be discussing community input from the survey that closed on July 11, working with the Consultant team to narrow the number of facility design alternatives to study more deeply, and the siting of a replacement facility, including consideration of the current site. Join the Zoom call {link}. There will be a public comment period at 12:45 p.m.


Our Solid Waste System

In Jefferson County our solid waste system includes garbage and household hazardous waste collection and disposal, programs for waste reduction and recycling, and the administration of those programs.

Our main solid waste and recycling facilities are both located at 325 County Landfill Road, which is near Port Townsend, about 0.75 miles west of Highway 20. This location hosts the:

  • Main transfer station
  • Recycling facility operated by Skookum Contract Services
  • Environmental center for the collection of waste oil, antifreeze, batteries, and fluorescent lights
  • Drop-off box for sharps (medical needles)
  • City of Port Townsend’s Biosolids Compost Facility

Almost all the County’s garbage, whether collected at curbside or brought in directly by residents and businesses, ends up being handled at the main solid waste transfer station.

One other facility open to the public in Jefferson County for solid waste disposal is the Quilcene Drop Box, located at 295312 Highway 101, about 23 miles south of the transfer station. That site accepts solid waste, recyclables, has a drop-off box for sharps, and it hosts an environmental center like the one at the transfer station.

Our Approach to Planning

As required by state law, we earlier created a comprehensive document, called the Jefferson County Solid Waste Management Plan, which spells out how we operate and maintain all our public sector solid waste systems. The plan is periodically updated with input from the Solid Waste Advisory Committee, the City of Port Townsend, and various partner agencies. After each new edition is formally adopted by the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners (Board), it guides the work carried out by the Solid Waste Division. It is in this long-established system that the Board, hopefully with your input, will also decide how we will address the current challenges we have with our transfer station and recycling center.

Why This Project? 

In 2016, we identified several challenges with our current solid waste facilities. These challenges include POPULATION GROWTH, FACILITY CAPACITY, and AGING FACILITIES AND EQUIPMENT. Let us dig a little deeper.

Population Growth

Our County population is expected to continue to increase, such that the Office of Financial Management in Olympia projects we will have 40,093 residents by 2040, a 32% increase over our size in 2015. Importantly, this forecast does not include our tourists and seasonal residents, which are also increasing in number each year. More people means more waste to manage.

Facility Capacity

Our current transfer station facilities were designed to handle 50 tons of waste per day but are now processing about 54% more than this design capacity. As a result, we are limited in how much waste and traffic can be handled quickly, safely, conveniently, and economically. The increase in both the tonnage of refuse and the number of transfer station users is straining our system.

      • Customer wait times are increasing.
      • We are limited in what materials we can divert from landfilling due to lack of on-site short-term storage space.
      • On-site space also limits traffic flow.
      • Safety of customers and facility staff is less secure than we would prefer.

Outdated Facilities and Equipment

Our transfer station was built in 1994. Our recycle center was built in 1983. As with any industrial facility and equipment, the costs to maintain them increases over time. Our challenges include:

    • The scales that weigh all the incoming garbage and outbound vehicles will need to be replaced in the next five to ten years. Additionally, their location causes operational delays, and they are not long enough to accommodate larger truck and trailer combinations.
    • A different set of scales, which weigh our solid waste trailers as they are being filled in the transfer building, was installed in 1992. They were replaced at a cost of almost $300,000 because replacement parts are not produced anymore.
    • The roof over the tipping floor building (where refuse is unloaded) will also need to be replaced in the next five to ten years.
    • The recycling center was designed to manage materials under favorable market conditions that made their sale into commodity markets cost-effective. Unfortunately, declining prices in this sector have substantially reduced the attraction of this activity, at least from an economic perspective. In addition, costly repairs to the loading dock and asphalt around the recycling center are pending.
    • The two expensive trash compactors at the Quilcene facility will need to be replaced within the next five years.
    • The current site is limited in the area that could be developed to increase the types of materials that could be kept from going to the landfill. The majority of the property is the closed landfill which cannot be redeveloped for industrial use.

Why Now?

We need to address these challenges to keep our system efficient, reliable, and affordable to serve our public, both self-haulers and larger commercial companies. We need to either make major improvements to the existing transfer station and recycling facilities or replace them entirely. The planning process we are now undertaking will identify which approach produces the most long-term benefit relative to cost and other considerations. We are beginning our planning now because it will take at least several years to design and build new facilities or remodel the existing ones. A decision on our optimal solid waste facility alternative(s) is required before the state-mandated updates to the Solid Waste Management Plan and the County’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan are schedule to begin in 2024.

Facility Elements

As part of the planning project, we will assess the present condition and capabilities of our County’s solid waste facilities and determine if more, larger, or different systems are needed to provide the level of service desired by the community, over the next 40 years. How best to manage the different waste materials, and the nature of facilities needed to accommodate our county’s growth and future solid waste system changes, will be addressed in formulating recommendations for the Board.

Facility Planning Process

Solid waste facilities planning  is a multi-dimensional, multi-step process, based on a forecast of the future needs of the community, robust public engagement, an agreed upon level of service that should be provided, as well as the evaluation of realistic alternative location options and funding possibilities. This county-wide planning process considers the environmental, socio-political and economic impacts of the facility alternatives on the community. A high-level representation of the planning  process is illustrated in Figure 1.


Figure 1: Solid Waste Facility Replacement Planning Process Diagram (Click image to enlarge)

Data Collection and Analysis

We will begin with a series of data collection and evaluation activities that become more specific with each subsequent step of the site selection process (see Figure 1.) An outside consultant, VIKEK Environmental Engineers, LLC (VIKEK) that specializes in solid waste management will review existing data and perform a high-level evaluation of the physical condition and functional performance of the existing facilities. VIKEK will also identify gaps that constrain the facilities from meeting current and future required levels of service and collect new information as necessary for the execution of this project.

Facility Alternatives Development, Conceptual Design, and Financing

Each step of this project will be completed collaboratively with the SWFTF, which includes representatives from the Board of County Commissioners, Port Townsend City Council (PTCC), County and City departments, regulatory agencies, business and residential neighbors, and solid waste hauling companies. The SWFTF is not a decision-making body but rather a collaborator fully integrated with the consultant team, participating in and advising on the solid waste facility planning process. 

The VIKEK team will use a series of structured workshops as the key mechanism for working with the SWFTF and developing a preferred solid waste facility alternative. This process will provide opportunities for soliciting new ideas and discussing the pros and cons of various location options, technologies, service levels, and financial strategies. Parallel to this effort,  workshops will be completed to develop conceptual facility designs that will inform the site selection process. The following 10 workshops and two presentation meetings are planned:

Workshop 1

Kick-Off and Chartering

This workshop was held on September 27, 2022. Its purpose was to discuss and achieve a shared understanding of the project’s vision, goals, scope, stakeholders, schedule, boundaries, and the form of the final work product that will be delivered to the City Council and Board.

Workshop 2

Charter and Workplan Review and Adoption

This workshop was held on December 15, 2022. The purpose of the session was to discuss and achieve a shared understanding of the integrated project team charter and the work plan and agree on the adoption of both documents.

Workshop 3

Solid Waste Facility Current State, Community Needs and Associated Level of Service

This workshop is planned for March 10, 2023, and its goal is to achieve a shared understanding of a number of things, including:

  • The current state of the existing Solid Waste Facilities,
  • The community’s priority current and future facility needs,
  • The associated levels of service (i.e., service types and scope, facility refuse handling capacity, recycling operations, space, traffic, safety, compaction, etc.), and
  • Design criteria and functional requirements that establish the basis for design of the facility alternatives, necessary to achieve the optimal level of service.

Workshop 4


At this workshop, planned for April 2023, the project team will leverage the community needs and existing facility condition and performance data to develop, screen and rank potential facility improvement alternatives, These alternatives will include facility rebuild and replacement options that will potentially meet community solid waste facility needs for the next 40 years. Selected two to three high ranking alternatives will be evaluated in detail later in the planning process.

Workshop 5

Site Selection Criteria and Screening Model 

This workshop is planned to be completed in May 2023. This session is intended to achieve a shared understanding of the criteria and approach that will be used to screen potential facility sites, including the existing ones, and to develop an initial list of potential alternative locations.

Workshop 6

Solid Waste Facility Conceptual Design Layouts 

This workshop is planned to be completed in June 2023. At this session, the updated design criteria and  functional requirements, and up to five conceptual facility layouts will be presented for the highest-ranking facility alternatives. This session is intended to achieve a shared understanding of these alternative designs and how each meets the required current and future levels of service.

Workshop 7

Broad Area Screening of Potential Sites 

This workshop is planned to be completed in July 2023. At this session, the team will apply the adopted criteria, input from the initial public meeting, and screen the long list of potential sites down to a smaller number (preferably less than 10) for later detailed evaluation.

Workshop 8

Focused Area Screening of Potential Sites

This workshop is planned to be completed in August 2023. At this session, the team will use the conceptual design and site layouts, facility cost model, technical, engineering, service levels, equity and social justice, environmental impact evaluations and lessons learned from facility tours, to assess and re-rank the short-listed sites against the evaluation criteria. The resulting two or three candidates and their associated  facility alternatives will then be subjected to a detailed comparative evaluation  during the next session.

Workshop 9

Comparative Solid Waste Facility AND Site Alternatives Evaluation

This workshop is planned to be completed in September or October 2023. At this session, the team will apply additional criteria to compare the remaining two to three facility and their associated site alternatives to determine which one is best.

Workshop 10

Financing Analysis and Plan

This workshop is planned to be completed in November 2023. At this session, the team will Identify, evaluate, and select a set of realistic sources of funding for the preferred solid waste facility alternative. These might include:

  • Increasing the tipping fee,
  • Issuing municipal or revenue bonds,
  • Creating a special Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) taxing district across the eastern part of the county,
  • Establishing a Private Public Partnership (PPP) agreement with outside investors after determining how much of the project risk the County is willing to assign to an outside party, and
  • Building a new facility under some version of a design-build-operate contract with an established solid waste company.

Presentation Meeting No.1 – Presentation of Preferred Solid Waste Facility Alternative to the City of Port Townsend Council

This meeting is projected to take place between  December 2023  and January 2024 to present the recommended Solid Waste Facility Alternative(s) that will drive the next six-year 2024 – 2030 Solid Waste Division’s Budget for the Solid Waste Transfer and Disposal Plan and related rate impacts.

Presentation Meeting No.2 – Presentation of Preferred Solid Waste Facility Alternative to the Board of County Commissioners

This meeting is projected to take place between  December 2023 and January 2024 to present the recommended Solid Waste Facility Alternative(s) that will drive the next six-year 2024 – 2030 Solid Waste Division’s Budget for the Solid Waste Transfer and Disposal Plan and related tipping fee projections.

Project Management

This activity includes the:

    • Coordination of our consultant, the Solid Waste Facilities Task Force (SWFTF) and public involvement activities,
    • The development of Jefferson County Solid Waste Division’s website and project webpage, and,
    • Conducting appropriate quality assurance reviews of project work products.

Activities under this task are structured to achieve the overall project goals within schedule and budget limitations and to coordinate work efforts among the project team, the County, the SWFTF, the Board, the  PTCC, regulatory agencies, the community and other project stakeholders.

Public Involvement

For the County to achieve community acceptance of this project, participating stakeholders, as well as the broader public, must be respectfully informed, understand the decision-making process and their role in it, see that their input is valued, and hear from the County about how they have influenced the decisions involved. The activities in this task will support a public involvement process that is transparent, fair, and accessible to all community members, who will be integrated into the process to provide input on the project via  in-person and online public meetings and in-person engagement at community events. To support these activities, the VIKEK team conducted a Public Involvement Plan kickoff workshop on September 27, 2022. The results developed at this event will be used to construct a public involvement plan that will guide all public outreach activities. The following two public meetings are planned.

Public Meeting #1: The purpose of this meeting is to meet the community, present information about the existing solid waste facilities, community facility needs, facility design and functional criteria, potential solid waste facility alternatives to address these needs, potential facility sites and screening criteria, and to solicit feedback from the audience.

Public Meeting #2: The purpose of this meeting is to present information on the initial short-listed sites and solid waste alternatives and solicit input.

As the project moves forward, we welcome community members to provide feedback. Please contact Al Cairns, the County Solid Waste Division Manager for more information.

Figure 2: Solid Waste Facilities Planning Process Key Activities’ Completion Dates (Click image to enlarge)


Many site issues can impact the project delivery schedule. The potential sites’ characteristics influence the time needed for data collection and evaluation of environmental and physical conditions. The planned public involvement is intended to facilitate the process forward, and adequate time must be included in the schedule for all these activities. The estimated completion dates for the major activities are shown in Figure 2. These dates will be reviewed and updated periodically to support the project team activities and timely project completion.

Facility Planning Status 

September 27, 2022.

A kick-off meeting with County solid waste personnel, the Solid Waste Facilities Task Force (SWFTF), and the consultant team was held at the fire department training facility in Chimacum. After introductions and an overview of the solid waste system and the project, the SWFTF was presented with draft project goals and objectives. Members of the SWFTF suggested the County include an assessment of solid waste facilities and services to inform what facility improvements might be needed. The SWFTF also engaged in a public involvement workshop, suggesting key stakeholders, community issues and needs, and providing input on potential concerns and key messages.

December 15, 2022.

The SWFTF met to review and comment on a draft project charter and work plan. The SWFTF discussed and gave specific feedback on guiding principles, an updated project goal, the project scope and workplan, and success criteria. A revised project charter and work plan will be presented to the SWFTF for approval early in 2023.

March 10, 2023 – Workshop #3

On March 10, 2023, the Solid Waste Facilities Task Force met again. Following up on their previous workshop, the SWFTF discussed and finalized their workplan and charter. They heard an informational presentation from the County’s professional consultant lead, Dr. Victor Okereke of Vikek Environmental Engineers, LLC, about the current condition of the County’s Solid Waste Recycling and Transfer Facility at Port Townsend. The condition assessment looked at many areas of the facility, including site access, capacity, scales and scale house, congestion, traffic flow, recycling, building conditions, public facilities, environmental quality, and customer experience. Sarah Fischer, of BLRB Architects, another consultant team member, shared ideas and information about how deficiencies at the existing facility could be addressed. Prior to the meeting, the SWFTF members had provided ideas for additional changes that could be considered as part of the Solid Waste Facility Replacement Planning project. At the meeting, the SWFTF participated in a polling activity to identify which ideas of those collected were of the most importance to them. Meeting materials are included below.

April 28, 2023 – Workshop #4

On April 28, the SWFTF met again. They learned about the consultant team’s work to develop potential alternatives for how to address the existing Solid Waste Recycling and Transfer Facility’s   challenges. Alternatives were shared that could be mixed and matched to address challenges such as site access, congestion on site, and site flexibility to manage future growth and types of materials collected for disposal and/or recycling. The SWFTF provided their thoughts about the elements of each potential alternative. The SWFTF also gave feedback on potential criteria for how to evaluate the different alternatives to reconstruct or replace the existing facility. At future workshops, the SWFTF will consider whether the current location can accommodate different rebuild or replace alternatives. Meeting materials are included below.

Solid Waste Facilities Task Force

The Board of County Commissioners created a Solid Waste Facilities Task Force to assist staff and our outside consultant team with all aspects of finding the best solution to our current situation, including the active engagement of the community in the decisions that are going to be made in the near future. The Task Force will help the County:

  • Develop a conceptual design for modified or replacement solid waste facilities,
  • Identify the best location for the facilities, and
  • Identify how to finance the project.

Task Force meetings will be open to the public and observers will be able to provide public comment at each meeting. The agendas and summaries of each meeting, including  a compilation of public comments, will be posted on this page.

Solid Waste Facilities Task Force Members and Their Areas of Expertise:

Area of Expertise
Seeking member
District 2 Citizen
Tim Deverin
District 3 Citizen
Solid Waste Management Plan
Greg Brotherton
Board of County Commissioners
County goals
Owen Rowe
Port Townsend City Council
City goals
Steve King
Port Townsend Public Works
City Operations
Carol Cummins
Local 2020 – Beyond Waste Action Group
Solid waste reduction
Tracy Grisman
Arts Community
Arts Community
Miranda Nash
D.A.S.H./Jefferson Transit
Customer mobility/access
Cindy Jayne
Climate Action Committee
Green House Gas reduction/energy efficiencies
Pinky Feria-Mingo
Jefferson County Public Health
Permit requirements/other County functions
David Wayne Johnson
Department of Community Development
GMA/zoning/permitting requirements
Brain Tracer
East Jefferson Fire and Rescue
Risk management
Willie Bence
Department of Emergency Management
Disaster debris management
Will O’Donnell
Public Utility District
Derek Rockett
Department of Ecology
Facility design/requirements
Bridgett Gregg
WSU Extension
Agriculture community
Steve Gilmore
Republic Services – Roosevelt Regional Landfill
Transfer station and landfill operation
Joey Deese
Waste Connections – WUTC G-Certificate Hauler
MSW collection and transfer station operations
Alysa Thomas
Skookum Contract Services – Recycling Contractor
Recycling collection and recycling center operations


September 27, 2022
December 15, 2022
March 10,2023
April 28, 2023
July 28, 2023
In person at: East Jefferson Fire and Rescue Station, 9193 Rhody Drive, Chimacum, or online via Zoom
Online via Zoom
In person at: County Public Works Office, 623 Sheridan Street, Port Townsend, WA and online via Zoom
In person at: County Public Works Office, 623 Sheridan Street, Port Townsend, WA and online via Zoom
Virtual on ZOOM or in-person at the Public Works office, 623 Sheridan St., Port Townsend, WA

Community Voice

The Solid Waste Facilities Task Force has met several times to discuss the County’s existing Solid Waste Recycling and Transfer Facility at Port Townsend. They have come up with some ideas of their own for a rebuilt or replaced facility. They have also heard some ideas from the consultant team about how to solve some of the existing facility’s serious challenges. The survey that was just completed will provide excellent feedback to the Task Force.

Thank you to those who took the survey to provide the Task Force with your thoughts about the existing facility and what is important to you as this planning proceeds. We received 319 responses. The Task Force will consider the feedback in their upcoming workshops as they work with the consultant team to narrow the number of facility design alternatives being studied and discuss and evaluate potential locations for the replacement facility.

The summary of survey responses is available here. Also, stay connected for future surveys. If you would like to be notified when new surveys or other input opportunities are available, be sure to sign up on our email list.

We want to hear from you!

Fill out the form with any comments or questions and they will be addressed at our next task force meeting.


Thanks for visiting our project website.

Remember to sign up for our mailing list if you’d like to be notified when the site is updated with new information. Please email questions about this project to Al Cairns at acairns@co.jefferson.wa.us.

Thank You!

Thanks for visiting our project website. We hope you come back frequently. We’ll have more information soon about the project and how you can be involved. Remember to sign up for our mailing list if you’d like to be notified when the site is updated with new information. Please email questions about this project to Al Cairns at acairns@co.jefferson.wa.us.

Mailing List