County advances new landfill regs

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Construction and demolition projects in unincorporated San Diego County will have new landfill diversion regulations.

A 4-0 San Diego County Board of Supervisors vote Jan­uary 29, with Kristin Gaspar was not present when the vote was taken, approved the intro­duction and first reading of the ordinance. The supervisors approved the second reading and adoption of the ordinance on a 5-0 vote Feb. 12. The new regulations take effect April 1, although for the smallest projects exceeding 1,000 square feet the new regulations will be effective Jan. 1, 2021.

“It’s a significant step for­ward in meeting our diversion goals,” said county Depart­ment of Public Works (DPW) deputy director Rich Whipple.

The county implemented a construction and demolition landfill diversion ordinance in 2007, which includes a requirement that permit ap­plicants pay a refundable de­posit which is returned if the recycling requirements are met. The 2007 ordinance ap­plied only to projects of at least 40,000 square feet, and while approximately 4,000 tons of construction and demolition material have been diverted annually DPW estimates that more than one-third of all ma­terials sent to the landfill from the unincorporated county are from construction and demoli­tion projects.

The lower threshold is ex­pected to increase construc­tion and demolition material diversion to 44,000 tons annu­ally.

“This drops that thresh­old eventually to 1,000 square feet, so more projects will be brought into the fold,” Whip­ple said. “It will help us cap­ture more diversion in these smaller projects.”

The April 1 effective date is for projects of at least 5,000 square feet while those be­tween 1,000 and 4,999 square feet will have until January 1 to meet the diversion threshold. The 90 percent diversion re­quirement for inert materials such as asphalt, brick, and con­crete will still apply although the 70 percent requirement for non-inert materials such as wood, metal, and plastics will be replaced by a requirement that at least 65 percent of all inert and non-inert materials combined be recycled. That would allow the non-inert de­bris to be sent to a mixed recy­cling facility including placing construction and demolition materials in a mixed recycling container.

The deposit per square foot will increase from 20 cents to 40 cents, which will be capped at $40,000 per project or devel­opment phase. The ordinance adds the requirement to use a franchise waste hauler al­though some self-hauling is allowed and for projects under 5,000 square feet if a franchise waste hauler is used no depos­it will be required. The new ordinance also requires the use of an approved construc­tion and demolition recycling facility.

“It’s a part of a comprehen­sive plan of measures taken to reduce our overall diversion,” Whipple said.

“Our goals are to conserve our natural resources, decrease pollution, and strengthen our local economy,” said Supervi­sor Kristin Gaspar. “Diversion is a great start. I would very much like to see these materi­als locally repurposed.”

The benefits of the ordi­nance are not limited to land­fill diversion. “A superior use of these materials is in our lo­cal roads,” Gaspar said.

In September 2018 Gaspar’s colleagues on the Board of Su­pervisors adopted her recommendation to create a working group of industry associations, public agencies, and county staff members to identify inno­vative and cost-effective pave­ment preservation treatments which can be used on county roads. “I’m pleased to see that the Building Better Roads working group I established has been working toward that goal,” Gaspar said.

County advances new landfill regs

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