King County Northeast Recycling & Transfer Station (NERTS)
King County will soon replace the aging Houghton Recycling and Waste Transfer Station serving residents of Woodinville, Kirkland, Redmond, Sammamish, and unincorporated northeast King County. The Houghton Transfer Station is one of King County's busiest transfer stations, but it offers limited recycling services and lacks the capacity to expand or provide more recycling services to meet the needs of a growing population.
King County plans to close the existing Houghton Transfer Station and build a larger, easy-to-use facility with more recycling options. The new transfer station will be a modern, enclosed facility that meets the latest environmental standards.
Visit King County's Northeast Recycling and Transfer Station Project website to learn more about the goals of the Northeast Recycling and Transfer Station project, take a virtual transfer station tour, sign up for news updates, and more.
Sites Under Consideration
King County has identified two sites within the Northeast County service area to study in an environmental review process, Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). The sites are:
- 15801 Woodinville-Redmond Rd NE, Woodinville 98072 (PDF): 12.9 acre site comprised of six separately owned parcels, currently home to several longtime Woodinville businesses and across the street from The Chrysalis School.
- 11724 NE 60th Street, Kirkland 98033 (PDF): Current location of Houghton Recycling and Transfer Station just north of Bridle Trails State Park
Each potential site has its own unique advantages and drawbacks. Many factors will go into choosing the future home of the Northeast Recycling and Transfer Station, which is why King County will continue to look for input from residents, businesses, and community groups in the service area as the process continues.
Proposed Woodinville Site
One site proposed by King County is a cluster of parcels located within the City of Woodinville along the 15000 block of Woodinville-Redmond Road in the south Valley Industrial District (about halfway between Downtown and the Tourist District). This site is currently home to several longtime local businesses and known critical areas.
This site, located to the far North of the service area and of suitable size and shape, poses several challenges of disproportionate impact to Woodinville residents and businesses.
Challenge 1: Traffic Impact
- The current Houghton Transfer Station facility is the busiest in King County, serving an average of 35 self-haulers, 11 commercial haulers, and 5 County garbage transfer tractor trailer trucks during peak mid-afternoon hours on weekdays. On weekend days, the facility sees decreased commercial use but can see up to 55 self-haulers per hour. This same level of facility use at the new proposed Woodinville site would contribute towards increased traffic along the two-lane Woodinville-Redmond Road, as well as nearby arterials connecting to SR 522 through downtown and SR 202 through the Tourist District.
- Intersections located on either end of Woodinville Redmond Road are not currently designed to accommodate increased levels of traffic from self-haul customers, private garbage trucks, and tractor trailers transporting materials out to the County landfill. This includes the 131st Avenue NE railroad trestle crossing and the two roundabouts located in the Tourist District along NE 145th Street All intersections would likely require mitigation at significant added cost to the public and disruption to local residents and businesses.
Challenge 2: Economic Impact & Business Displacement
- Woodinville's South Valley Industrial neighborhood has a distinct light manufacturing and warehouse character that is increasingly rare in North King County. This area is home to some of Woodinville's largest employers, as well as many breweries, a distillery, a cross fit gym, a dance studio, and a gymnastics studio. Increased traffic and associated noise and vibrations generated by a new transfer station facility could negatively impact these businesses. Some businesses may feel the need to relocate.
- The proposed Woodinville site is the only one that would require displacement of exiting businesses. For decades, this site has been home to several local businesses, including Northwest Utilities, Kemcor, Appian Construction, and Racecraft, which collectively employ more than 100 people. If the site were to be selected, there is a possibility that these businesses would be unable to secure another facility within city limits from which to operate.
Challenge 3: Proximity to Residential Neighborhoods, Trail & Private K-12 School
- The proposed Woodinville site is directly west and down-hill of Woodinville's West Ridge Neighborhood, separated by a small belt of greenway. It is possible that smells and noises associated with tractor trailer traffic and trash compacting may travel up hill to homes in the West Ridge neighborhood.
- The site is adjacent to the newly announced future home of the Eastrail, an 42-mile multi-jurisdictional rails-to-trail project that will eventually connect Woodinville to Kirkland, Redmond, Bellevue, and Renton. Siting a transfer station next to a regional trail may detract from public enjoyment of the new trail.
- The site is directly across the street from The Chrysalis School, a private school serving about 220 students from kindergarten through 12th grade. The Chrysalis School has been operating in Woodinville since 1983. Siting at transfer at this location may contribute classroom disruptions and safety concerns for students walking and driving along Redmond-Woodinville Road.
Challenge 4: Known Critical Areas
- The vacant parcels in the southern half of the proposed site are incumbered with known critical areas that will require costly mitigation.
- Building on or around wetlands can have environmental impacts on neighboring parcels and have negative downstream impacts. As Woodinville is a proud neighbor to farmland and fish bearing streams, it is imperative that wetlands are protected.
City of Woodinville's Position
The City of Woodinville is working closely with King County and the cities of Kirkland, Redmond, and Sammamish to identify a suitable location for the new Northeast King County Transfer Station. All partners are in agreement that construction of a new, modern facility with updated recycling capabilities is in the best interest of area residents as well as the environment.
The City of Woodinville and Woodinville City Council are supportive of constructing a new Northeast Recycling and Transfer Station facility in Kirkland at the existing Houghton Transfer Station Site. This site has served the northeast King County area well for more than 50 years and there is ample space for redevelopment above the closed landfill just north of the existing facility.
On January 17, 2023 City Manager Brandon Buchanan submitted a comment letter regarding the disapointing and flawed Environmental Impact Study the County is embarking on in the near future. The letter can be sound here: Northeast Recycling and Transfer Station SEPA Scoping Comment Letter (PDF)
City efforts to support the Woodinville community include, but are not limited to, formal Council action, opposition letters, active participation in subgroups and siting advisory boards, hiring legal counsel, conducting our own Economic Impact Study (EIS), and attending core cities meetings.
Thank you for attending the NERTS Community Presentation in Woodinville!
On March 15, King County representatives visited City Hall to present project information and answer community questions on the Northeast Recycling & Transfer Station project.
A recording of the meeting is available here: March 15 NERTS Community Meeting
Upcoming Opportunities for Public Input
King County will continue to work with the public. If you would like to share your thoughts with the County, please visit the King County NERTS website here: Northeast Recycling & Transfer Station project - King County
Past Engagement Efforts
King County accepted comments on their Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) from March 20 - April 10, 2023. Visit the County's Virtual Open House website to learn more about the EIS and provide formal comments on what impacts you'd like to see the County to study as part of the EIS.
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Scoping Open Houses (CLOSED)
- Scoping Meeting #1 (in person) - December 1st at Lake Washington High School (12033 NE 80th St, Kirkland) from 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
- Scoping Meeting #2 (virtual) - December 7th via Zoom from 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
- Scoping Meeting #3 (in person) - December 8th at Brightwater Center (2205 WA-9, Woodinville) from 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Past opportunities for public input included two community surveys in the Fall of 2020 and Winter of 2021. Future opportunities for public input related to the environmental review study process will be published on this page as they come available.