Friday, December 08, 2006

Local Dump Moving Ahead on Operating Changes

Local Dump Moving Ahead on Operating Changes
By Barry Eberling

FAIRFIELD - Potrero Hills Landfill owners on Thursday took a step forward in their efforts to make changes at the local dump, such as operating it 24 hours daily.

The state Integrated Waste Management Board voted 3-1 with one abstention to approve proposed permit changes. That's not enough to pass them, given that four votes are needed to approve or deny. But if the board doesn't deny the permit changes by Dec. 25 - 60 days after receiving the permit application - it passes them by default.

No further board action is scheduled before Dec. 25.

Florida-based Republic Services Inc. asked the board for permission to:

-- Increase operating hours to 24 hours daily Monday through Friday and 20 hours daily on weekends. Existing operating hours are 21 hours daily.

-- Stop counting recyclable materials and materials used to cover trash against the daily trash tonnage limits. This in effect lets the dump accept more garbage.

Potrero Hills is limited to 3,400 tons of trash daily, averaged over seven days, with a 4,330-ton daily peak. Recyclable materials and cover materials account for about 615 tons daily.

But the owners face another hurdle if and when they get the state permit Dec. 25. They also need a permit from the Bay Conservation and Development Commission because the dump is near Suisun Marsh.

The waste board's action is another in a series of steps the dump is taking to expand operations.

Potrero Hills Landfill owners want to make vertical and horizontal expansions as well. The Solano County Board of Supervisors in September 2005 said the dump could expand from 320 acres to 580 acres and have a taller maximum height. Those issues are before BCDC.

Opponents say the proposed expansion and operational changes could hurt Suisun Marsh and worsen traffic and litter, among other things. They say what was once a dump for local cities has become a regional "super dump" serving communities as far as 150 miles away.

Reach Barry Eberling at 425-4646 Ext. 232 or at

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