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South County Recycling and Transfer Station Project

Learn about our newest transfer station coming to south King County in 2026.  The station will serve communities in and around Algona, Auburn, Federal Way, and Pacific.

What's happening now?

Expect longer travel times on West Valley Highway South starting mid-May through this fall
We began construction on the South King County Recycling and Transfer Station in May 2023. Starting this month, travelers should expect to see related road construction on West Valley Highway South. Work begins as soon as May 13 and is expected to continue through fall. During this time, travelers can expect:

  • Overnight highway closure of West Valley Highway South from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. May 13 to May 16.
  • Traffic slowdowns around the construction site and longer travel times along West Valley Highway South through fall 2024.
  • Directional lane closures on West Valley Highway South between the Algona Transfer Station and Iowa Drive. Directional lane closures will be in place 24/7 until work is complete. Temporary traffic signals will direct traffic through the construction site. Northbound and southbound traffic will alternate turns as directed by the signals. Temporary traffic signals will direct traffic through the construction site.
  • Construction vehicles exiting and entering the construction site and work crews in the right of ways.
  • A limited number of businesses near the construction area may experience utility shutoffs (water, sewer, or power) lasting no more than one day at a time. Affected businesses will hear directly from the construction team in advance of planned shutoffs.

People using West Valley Highway South should plan for delays and longer travel times. Crews will make every possible effort to limit the effects of construction on the surrounding community and complete work as safely and efficiently as possible. Sign up for our GovDelivery email updates to get the latest project and construction updates in your inbox.

Construction

Overview

King County is constructing a new Recycling and Transfer Station just north of the existing Algona Transfer Station. The new facility will include commercial and public recycling drop-off areas, hazardous waste disposal areas, and an administrative office.

Construction schedule

Construction began in spring 2023, and the new station is scheduled to open to the public as soon as summer 2026. Upcoming work in 2024 includes construction on West Valley Highway South, which may include temporary lane closures and detours.

  • Improvements to West Valley Highway South: Work is expected to begin as early as late May and last through October.
  • Upgraded sewer line on 11th Avenue North: Work is expected to begin as early as July and last through September.
  • New culvert under West Valley Highway South: Work is expected to begin and finish in July.

What to expect during construction

People who live, work, and travel in the area can expect occasional noise, vibration, and dust throughout construction. Crews will make every possible effort to limit the effects of construction on the surrounding community.

Occasional traffic shifts and lane closures along West Valley Highway South will be required to complete some construction activities. Signs and flaggers will provide guidance during roadwork.

King County is committed to being a good neighbor and will work directly with the community throughout the project to minimize construction impacts whenever possible. Residents can expect:

  • Construction updates and news via notices, emails, and this website.
  • One-on-one problem solving with residents directly impacted by construction.

As construction begins, you can stay informed and involved through the following channels:

  • Sign up for our GovDelivery email updates to get the latest project and construction updates in your inbox. You can sign up or opt out at any time.
  • Invite a member of the project team to give a virtual presentation to your organization or group.

If you have questions or comments, please contact Karen Herndon, Project Manager, via email or by calling 206-477-0529.

South County project schedule.
South County project schedule.

Benefits

Community advantages

In addition to expanded services, the new South County station will bring additional benefits to the neighboring community including apprenticeship and training opportunities, job creation and economic investments, environmental education, public art additions, and West Valley Highway South road improvements.

Expanded services

The new South County Recycling and Transfer Station will offer a wider variety of services for customers than are currently available at the Algona Station. Station services will include:

  • Recycling for appliances, glass, metals, paper, plastics, wood, yard waste, and more
  • Hazardous waste disposal for products from homes and qualifying small businesses
  • Garbage disposal

Site selection

In 2006, the King County Council approved a plan to modernize its recycling and waste disposal facilities throughout the county.

As part of that plan, the County began looking for a location to build a replacement facility for the aging Algona station in 2012.

In 2017, the site at 35101 W Valley Hwy S was selected. This site is located just north of the existing Algona Transfer Station. 

Read the 2006 Solid Waste Transfer and Waste Management Plan (646KB)

Our Solid Waste Division project team worked with representatives from the surrounding community as the design for the new station was developed. This group was known as the Design Advisory Committee and met regularly throughout the process.

The team also worked with the cities of Algona, Auburn, Pacific, and Federal Way and with employees who worked at existing County transfer stations. The community was also asked to share their input online and at in-person events. More information about the public engagement process can be found below. Final design for the facility was completed in June 2022.

Living Building Challenge

The Living Building Challenge (LBC) is an opportunity for projects to create a positive impact on the human and natural systems that interact with them. Projects that follow the LBC framework create positive environmental, sustainable, and regenerative impacts. King County has committed itself to registering at least 20 LBC projects by 2025.

Structures that adhere to the LBC design framework don’t just focus on one area of environmental impact, but instead benefit their surroundings through a variety of  categories. The South County Recycling and Transfer Station project will focus on the categories of Energy, Place, Equity and Beauty.

The South King County Recycling and Transfer Station will include the following features that align with the LBC design framework:

  • Solar panels
  • Sustainable construction materials
  • Natural light
  • Native plant life

Enhancements

The new South County Recycling and Transfer Station will use modern design elements that address many of the challenges that are encountered at older stations.

Controlling air - Modern stations feature walled-in structures to contain air flow and hold in odors. Misters are also used to suppress dust and odors.

Enhancing lighting - Modern stations harness the power of natural light by using transparent materials for window and roofing to limit the use of electricity, saving energy and money.

Containing sound - Modern stations reduce noise from equipment and vehicles by using enclosed-building designs, sound absorbing landscaping, and by setting the buildings further back or using sound barrier walls.

Mitigating traffic - Compacting equipment and additional driving lanes allow modern stations to move vehicles through the site quickly and reduce the number of trucks coming to and from the location each day.

Features

The new South County Recycling and Transfer Station will feature a number of environmental and community enhancing features including:

  • The use of solar panels
  • Tributary realignment and habitat enhancements
  • The capture and use of rainwater from the site
  • The use of sustainable construction materials
  • Landscaping with native, drought tolerant plants

Public involvement

Public involvement is an essential part of developing designs or plans for any new station. As we began to evaluate a new station for South County residents, our staff asked the community to share what was important to them.

During that outreach, the community said that recycling, garbage and hazardous waste disposal were important services. They also shared that they were concerned about traffic, odor, and impacts to the stream and wetlands on the site.

We also asked the community what benefits they would like to see from a new station. Job training and apprenticeships, walking and biking trails, and environmental impacts were some of the most common responses.

Using this information, we worked with representatives from South County cities, the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, businesses, residents and solid waste hauling companies to develop a design for the South County Recycling and Transfer Station that would serve the communities needs and desires.

Public art

Public art for the South County Recycling & Transfer Station

In 1973, King County created the 1% for Art Program. This program requires that 1 percent of funds from capital construction projects, such as the South County Recycling and Transfer Station, be set aside for public artwork. 4Culture, the county's cultural services agency, has commissioned four regional artists to develop site-specific pieces for the new facility:

  • Artists Tyson Simmons, Keith Stevenson, and Sam Obrovac of the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe’s Culture Division will create a signature sculpture carved from trees felled on the project site as well as concrete patterning and aluminum medallions for the entry retaining wall. Both artworks reference Muckleshoot stories of air, land, and sea, representing ancestral teachings about the interconnectedness of the world around us.
  • Evan Blackwell, visual artist and faculty member at Evergreen State College, is developing a body of work informed by engagement activities and materials sourced during a multi-year residency. Select pieces will be installed in the lobby of the administrative building and in the surrounding landscape.

Project schedule

Updated April 2024 (subject to change)

Date Actions/Events/Public meetings
July 2012 - Sep 2016

Potential locations for the new facility are identified, criteria to evaluate locations are developed, an Environmental Impact statement is completed, and multiple community meetings are held.

Learn more about our facility siting process.

Feb 2017

King County selects the site 35101 West Valley Highway S, Algona, WA as the location for new South County Recycling and Transfer Station.

Nov 2018 Preliminary station design begins.
Nov 29, 2018 First Design Advisory Group meeting.
Dec 12, 2018

Open House is held at Algona City Hall, 200 Washington Blvd., Algona for community members interested in learning more about the project and providing input on design.

Read Open House #1 Summary (56KB)

Feb 8 - June 2, 2019 Online open house is held. Community members are invited to give their input on the design of the new station, including ideas on sustainable design features, services to be offered, and impacts and benefits to the community.
Feb 28, 2019 Second Design Advisory Group meeting.
May 30, 2019 Third Design Advisory Group meeting.
Fall 2019 - Winter 2020 Value Engineering Study and environmental analysis and studies (noise, geotechnical, traffic, wetlands and stream) are performed.
Feb 14, 2020 4Culture initiates Call for Artists to create public art for the project.
Aug 2020

4Culture announces a rtists selected for the project.

Read about Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and Evan Blackwell

May 28, 2020 Fourth Design Advisory Group meeting.
July 1, 2021 Fifth Design Advisory Group Meeting.
Aug 25, 2021 Online Open House is held. This is an opportunity for community members to learn more, ask questions, and give input to project team on 60% design.
Summer 2021 - Fall 2022 Station final design.
May 18, 2023 Construction groundbreaking
2023 - Spring 2026 Construction of new facility.
Summer 2026 New facility opens to the public.
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