Making room for garbage
The Houghton Recycling and Transfer Station (HRTS), located on 8.4 acres at a closed landfill in Kirkland, Wash., is the second busiest station of eight operated by King County's Solid Waste Division (KCSWD). The community has grown substantially since the facility was built in the mid-1960s, and KCSWD has recommended closing HRTS and building a new transfer station elsewhere in northeast King County. However, work on the new station will take several years, so until that can happen, HRTS needed some renovations.
HRTS operates seven days a week, collecting recyclables and consolidating garbage from hauling companies, businesses and residents for transport to the 920-acre Cedar Hills Regional Landfill, located 20 miles southeast of Seattle, for disposal. The landfill receives nearly 1 million tons of solid waste a year.
The main problems with the HRTS site were the facility's roof, the size of the trailer parking area and the stormwater management infrastructure. The roof was not designed to provide the vertical clearance needed for the type and size of garbage trucks currently in use, and it suffered repeated damage from large commercial collection vehicles that hit the roof trusses while unloading. The HRTS trailer parking area also needed to be larger to increase maneuvering areas for transfer trailer trucks. To improve stormwater management on the site, a storage vault was needed to contain contaminated water and decrease the possibility of overflows.
In May 2010, KCSWD selected the Seattle district office of PCL Construction Services, Inc. to be the project's general contractor. Seattle-based ABKJ and McLean, Va.-based Science Applications International Corporation also were hired to provide design and construction management services. Construction began in August 2010 and had to occur while HRTS remained open for business. One tipping floor remained open at all times for commercial customers to use during the week and for all customers on weekends.
Over six months, the construction team strengthened and raised the roof by nine feet to provide a total of 25 feet vertical clearance. To reconfigure the trailer parking area, approximately 14,705 square feet of new pavement was added to allow transfer trailers to park two-deep instead of three-deep, for safer, quicker and more efficient movement and removal of trailers. The project also included construction of a sound barrier wall on the west side of the station; paving a pedestrian pathway along the station frontage road; and improving erosion control and lighting at the station.
The HRTS improvements, completed in February, have made operations more safe and efficient, and they have reduced impact on residential neighbors and the surrounding community. During construction, HRTS was able to process 92 percent of the tonnage it received during the same period the previous year.
Project: Recycling and transfer station improvements
Jurisdiction: King County, Wash.
Agency: Solid Waste Division
Vendor: Denver-based PCL Construction Services, Inc.; Seattle-based ABKJ; McLean, Va.-based SAIC
Date completed: February 2011
Cost: $2.5 million