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Santa Maria looks to expand landfill

Posted at 4:42 PM, Mar 02, 2020

Santa Maria's 290-acre landfill is running out of space.

While it's still operational for some time to come, the city is looking at expanding.

Director of Utilities for Santa Maria Shad Springer said in 2006, the city bought a nearly 1,800-acre parcel of land south of Santa Maria called Los Flores Ranch, part of which will be used to construct the future landfill.

"It's not as much for population growth as it is the existing landfill had a given design life or volume and we are approaching that at this time. This particular location will provide for the growth in the city of Santa Maria we've seen and also provide available space for the other areas in northern Santa Barbara County," Springer said.

With the current landfill having four to six years of use left, Springer said it is important for the city to continue with the design, permit, and construction process.

"The timing will be tight for us to get the landfill ready to receive refuse once this site is at it's capacity," Springer said.

The city has implemented diversion programs in which less waste is brought to the landfill to help extend its life.

According to the city, they've already set aside about $4.8 million to fund the design and permitting contract with Tetra Tech, an engineering design company, for the new site.

Co-owner of Birchfield Gardening Lupe Birchfield has been in the landscaping business for years and said she is a frequent visitor to the landfill given her line of work.

"I am all for making it bigger, expanding it. We are out there in the dump all the time and we see a lot of trash," Birchfield said.

The Santa Maria City Council has budgeted for the design and permit. They will be deciding at Tuesday's city council meeting whether to spend the funds and enter into the contract with Tetra Tech.

The city says there are a lot of requirements and price pressures that will have to be accounted for while the new landfill is being built, but at this time they are unsure what impact it will have on rate payers.