Recology trash train plan for SF on hold
The plan for the city of San Francisco to ship its garbage in three years to a Yuba County landfill by rail is on hold, to allow the city to have a full environmental review of the project before proceeding.
Recology, Inc., the company proposing the plan to ship trash to the Ostrom Road landfill near Wheatland, announced today it was terminating its contract with the city to allow for the review.
By doing so, according to a company press release, Recology both heads off litigation from an unsuccessful bidder and others and also continues a process started earlier this year by Yuba County.
However, Recology Yuba-Sutter vice president and group manager Dave Vaughn said he expects the end result will still be the same: San Francisco trash coming by rail to Yuba County.
“I just believe it allows an environmental impact review document to be completed and review,” Vaughn said. “We’ve just got to continue on with the process.”
Vaughn said the company estimates the review will take about a year to complete, and so shouldn’t affect the planned beginning of train shipments in 2015.
The plan has come under criticism from both landfill neighbors and some county officials.
Recology officials have pointed out the landfill has both the licensing and capacity to allow the trash, which would be an estimated 400,000 tons over 10 years.
One of the plan’s principal opponents, Rick Paskowitz, said the announcement is exactly what his landfill watchdog group, Yuba Group Against Garbage, had been asking for.
“It’s good for the farmland, it’s good for the pristine water of the valley,” said Paskowitz, who lives near the landfill outside Wheatland.
He said Recology’s announcement puts it more in line with a company credo to send no waste to landfills by 2020. “Recology and the city of San Francisco should be congratulated for this,” he said.
Today’s announcement said the “green rail project” was still San Francisco’s preferred method to dispose of its trash. Recology officials said in the release the company looked to strike a new landfill agreement after the environmental review is completed.
But Paskowitz said he believes the review will find the proposed train too problematic. Such a review should’ve been done before San Francisco county supervisors approved the bid from Recology last year, he said.
Yuba County has already begin an environmental review of a rail spur that would need to be built for the trash to be delivered to the landfill. Commanders at Beale Air Force Base, among others, have opposed the spur.