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Home > Feature Articles > Municipality Strategies for Sustainable Community Best Practices

California Funds Communities’ Efforts to Clean Up Trash

Illegal dumping activity poses a hazard to the public and the environment. CIWMB will help clean it up across the state.

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The California Integrated Waste Management Board unanimously approved more than $3.1 million in grants today to clean up areas in cities and counties throughout California where chronic illegal dumping has defaced parks, waterways, and public lands and put the public and the environment at risk.

“Illegal dumping poses a health and safety threat to the public and to the environment,” said Board Chair Margo Reid Brown. “The Board is committed to partnering with local agencies and pooling our resources against such acts of community disrespect.”

The grants come from the Board's Solid Waste Disposal and Codisposal Grant Program, which funds the cleanup of sites when a responsible party cannot be identified or is unable or unwilling to pay cleanup costs. The grants accelerate timely cleanup of dump sites that pose a risk to public health or the environment.

The Board approved grant allocations for projects in the following cities and counties:

Madera County – A $400,000 Board-managed cleanup of a 241-acre site along Highway 49 in Madera County that was the original site of the Ahwahnee Tavern, a way-station built in the late 1880s on the old stage road to Yosemite Valley. The site is now owned by Madera County, which plans to develop it as a regional park. The cleanup project will remove abandoned solid waste disposal sites, water wells, and building foundations from when the property was used by a tuberculosis recovery center (from 1919-1969) and a boys school (from 1972-1986).

Contra Costa County – A $300,000 Board-managed cleanup to remove 12 abandoned commercial vessels and three water hazard sites in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. This cleanup program would augment an ongoing program of the Contra Costa County’s Sheriff Marine Services Unit, which has received approximately $1 million in matching grants from the Department of Boating and Waterways to remove approximately 300 abandoned recreational vessels from the Delta. Abandoned vessels can release hazardous pollutants, including oil, gasoline, antifreeze, and sewage, into Delta waters, and as the vessels deteriorate they become a source of debris that can wash ashore or pose a water hazard.

Contra Costa County – A $200,000 Board-managed cleanup of a former dump site on Turtle Rock Ranch, which was acquired by the Department of Parks and Recreation in 1999 for an expansion of Mount Diablo State Park. The parcel was used for ranching operations as far back as the 1920s and 1930s, and during the 1960s and 1970s the ranch site was used as a rural picnic and swimming area and hosted weddings and other special events. Previous ranch owners used a half-acre site on a steep slope above Mountain House Creek to dispose of trash, debris, and old metal appliances. The Turtle Rock Ranch property is not currently accessible to park visitors, but the Department of Parks and Recreation has long-term plans to develop trails on the site and allow public access to the area for hiking and other uses.

El Dorado County – A $750,000 grant to bring the Meyers Landfill in South Lake Tahoe into compliance. Although the landfill has been closed since 1973, a new cap system will be installed to replace the original soil cap, which has deteriorated since it was first installed. Plans for the site also include installing a French drain system and a passive landfill gas emission control system.

City of Inglewood – A $400,000 grant to employ new methods of security for eight locations in the city identified as having chronic illegal dumping. These methods will include increased surveillance and code enforcement at these sites, as well as a much-needed outreach campaign to educate the public about proper methods of solid waste disposal.

City of South Gate – A $500,000 grant to implement a proactive program to address the problem of illegally dumped trash and combat the city’s top 45 chronic illegal dumping sites. The grant also will target high priority areas that pose significant and increasing illegal dumping that creates serious public health and safety problems. The grant proceeds will help educate the public about the impacts of illegal dumping and will be used to develop a model illegal dumping enforcement program that can be copied by other local jurisdictions.

City of San Diego – A $477,000 grant to bring the former Organic Recycling West site at the city-owned Brown Field Airport into compliance. The 25-acre facility has faced a number of permit violations since the original operator was evicted in 2005 and then declared bankruptcy in 2007. The city took responsibility for the facility and has succeeded in cleaning up 60,000 cubic yards of partially recycled green and wood waste, but ran out of funds before the remaining 12,000 cubic yards of waste gypsum drywall could be removed. The grant will pay to hire a waste management and recycling company to remove the gypsum material and transport it to a landfill for disposal or recycling to the extent possible.

SOLID WASTE DISPOSAL AND CODISPOSAL GRANTS BACKGROUND:

The Solid Waste Disposal and Codisposal Cleanup Program was authorized in AB 2136 (Eastin, Chapter 655, Statutes of 2003). Through the end of 2008, the Board had approved $85.3 million in cleanup grants through the program, leveraged an additional $48.5 million in funds from project partners, and recovered $14.2 million in cleanup costs. Approximately 800 sites statewide have been successfully cleaned up as a result of the program, while cleanup efforts were under way this year on an additional 185 projects. The Board approved $6 million during 2008 to help clean up 12 sites across the state.

The California Integrated Waste Management Board is the State's leading authority on recycling and waste reduction. It promotes reducing waste whenever possible, managing all materials to their highest and best use, and protecting public health and safety and the environment.

The CIWMB Board is one of six boards, departments, and offices within the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA).



Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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