Managing the Future of Solid Waste


(Knott Landfill | Photo courtesy of Deschutes County Department of Solid Waste)

The Department of Solid Waste oversees the management of solid waste in Deschutes County and takes pride in providing a safe and efficient place for residents to dispose of or recycle unwanted materials.

Deschutes County — Solid Waste Facts

In 2021, households and businesses in Deschutes County generated 309,429 tons of solid waste. These materials were managed in the following ways:

  • About 89,304 tons of materials were diverted (recycled, reused, composted)
  • About 220,125 tons of waste were disposed at the Knott Landfill

Solid Waste Management Plan

Knott Landfill is the only landfill in Deschutes County and is expected to be full by the end of 2029. To plan for the future, Deschutes County developed a Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) in 2019 to provide a roadmap for meeting the challenges of solid waste management in a growing community.

New state regulations require each county to reduce waste disposal in landfills and Deschutes County currently diverts 28.9% of its waste stream to recycling. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality recently revised the County’s goal to 45% by 2025. All residents and businesses generate recyclable materials and waste and have a role in meeting waste management goals.

Growth in the community and changes to the solid waste system will require that new or upgraded facilities be constructed. The SWMP evaluates the cost and operational needs of these facilities to ensure waste management services remain reliable and affordable.

With Knott Landfill expecting to reach capacity by the end of 2029, the SWMP also assessed disposal options such as alternative technologies, transporting waste to out-of-County regional landfills, and siting a new landfill in Deschutes County. Once the draft SWMP was completed, a survey was conducted by Triton Polling and Research, Inc., an independent polling and research company. The purpose of the Triton survey was to obtain additional input on whether the County should pursue siting a new landfill in Deschutes County, or transport waste to an out-of-County landfill when Knott Landfill closes. Results of this survey indicated that 84% of respondents support the position that waste generated in Deschutes County be disposed of in Deschutes County, with 93% supporting the recommendation to site a new landfill in the County. The decision was made to site and permit a new Solid Waste Management Facility (Landfill) within Deschutes County which needs to be operational before Knott Landfill reaches capacity.

Solid Waste Management Facility

Deschutes County is implementing a siting effort to identify a location for a new Solid Waste Management Facility in the County. Over the past two years, the Solid Waste Advisory Committee (SWAC) has reviewed and heard public comments for potential site options, narrowing the options from over two hundred potential locations to the two remaining finalist sites. The SWAC will be making a decision and refer the recommended site to the Board of County Commissioners within the next month for the Board’s consideration. It will take several years for any selected site to go through the public land use and permitting process.

While a new landfill is a leading need, opportunities for related solid waste management facilities such as separation and diversion facilities for recyclables, food waste, construction and demolition materials and other commodities may be part of this effort.


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Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. •

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