King County, Wash., raises the roof when it comes to its transfer stations and recycling centers – literally.
For example, the King County Solid Waste Division's Houghton Transfer Station is providing a blueprint on how to renovate, update and bring aging facilities into the modern era by reusing a lot of the existing components.
"Instead of just demolishing everything, what we did was we reused our roof to accommodate our customers," said Nori Catabay, project program manager for the King County Solid Waste Division. "A lot of them were saying our facility needs updating because the new trucks that are coming in are hitting our ceiling and our roof. When they tip, a lot of the trucks are larger now, they have greater capacity and they weren't fitting underneath our roof anymore. So, we raised the roof up."
Reusing the Houghton Transfer Station roof is just a small part of what King County is doing with renovating and building its facilities to be more efficient and up-to-date. The county is trying to reuse a majority of construction and demolition debris for projects, setting a goal of diverting as much as 95% of its C&D waste.
Catabay will discuss King County's renovation processes during her presentation today at noon during Wastecon near Washington D.C.
"What we're trying to do is provide an example of reusing and salvaging, instead of using new," Catabay said. "And that helps us because then it doesn't go into our landfill."
If materials can't be used on-site, the county looks for other projects the C&D waste can go toward. If it can't go in a transfer station or recycling facility project, the material is sorted and used by other entities and small business projects.
King County owns and manages eight recycling and transfer stations that handle about 800,000 tons of waste and recyclables per year. The county tries to divert 48% of that from landfills, Catabay said.
In 2008, the county built its Shoreline Recycling and Transfer Station, which was the first industrial project in the world to be certified LEED Platinum by the U.S. Green Building Council. The last time the county built a new facility was in the early 1960s.
In the last four years, the county has either renovated or built three transfer stations. In the next five years, it anticipates finishing the designing and building of another transfer station and siting two new recycling and transfer stations.
"I'm sure a lot of the jurisdictions around the country are feeling the same thing we are, in terms of budget cuts and resources that are dwindling," Catabay said. "We're trying to figure out how we find cost-efficiencies to help us maintain our system."