Future Algona transfer station faces planning stage headwinds

South King County’s new recycling and transfer station is expected to be completed in 2026.

Opened in the mid-1960s, the Algona Transfer Station is at the end of its engineered lifespan. The outdated and undersized station lacks numerous features that newer facilities have, officials said. COURTESY PHOTO

Opened in the mid-1960s, the Algona Transfer Station is at the end of its engineered lifespan. The outdated and undersized station lacks numerous features that newer facilities have, officials said. COURTESY PHOTO

The original estimate for King County’s new recycling and transfer station called for it to begin operations in 2023 as the replacement for the aging, outmoded 56-year-old facility in Algona.

County officials say the future station at 35101 W. Valley Highway S., just north of the present one, will offer services its predecessor cannot, among them recycling, yard waste and household hazardous waste disposal. The new site is intended to make services more accessible and convenient for South King County residents.

But a recent glance at the King County Solid Waste Division website offers a revised completion date of 2026 — and, county officials say, even that may change.

Is there a problem? No, say county officials.

The first thing that happened, according to county officials, was that it took longer for the transfer station project to gain its conditional use permit from the city of Algona than it had expected.

“What had been estimated to be about an 8-month process took about 16 months,” Project Manager Karen Herndon, who was appointed to the position in July 2020, told the Reporter recently. “Between July of 2020 and September of 2021, we were waiting for that conditional use permit, and we finally got it in September of 2021.”

Calls to Algona Mayor Dave Hill were not returned as of press time.

The second thing that happened was that, while King County Solid Waste based its estimated 28-month construction window on other recent transfer station construction time frames, this past September, a consultant it had hired to perform professional scheduling services revised the schedule to 39 months.

“That’s a really significant gap that we’re working on right now to close and to research,” Herndon said. “We actually are taking another deep dive on the construction duration. But for the purposes of telling everyone in Solid Waste, King County and the public what our delivery date looks like, we were forced to go with that longer duration because of what the professional scheduling service told us.”

Herndon noted that, while KCSW’s own experts remain skeptical about the 39 months it will take to complete the transfer station, the county can’t approve the 28-month time frame, either.

“So, the conditional use permit duration, plus the revised estimate of construction duration, took the project from a delivery date of mid-2024 to a delivery of early 2026,” Herndon said, noting the timeline gradually slipped to 2026 over the course of the last 18 months.

King County operates eight transfer stations, two drop-boxes, the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill and many programs to help customers recycle.

King County’s Solid Waste Division chose the site after a multi-year siting and environmental review process.

Additional information about the Algona Transfer Station project, including opportunities to stay informed and engaged, is available online, or by contacting King County’s Solid Waste Division.


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This rendering depicts the future transfer station in Algona from the air. Courtesy King County Solid Waste

This rendering depicts the future transfer station in Algona from the air. Courtesy King County Solid Waste

A rendering of the future South King County Transfer Station in Algona. Courtesy King County Solid Waste Division.

This rendering depicts the future transfer station in Algona from the air. Courtesy King County Solid Waste

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