In response to your recent article about Los Angeles County’s waste-by-rail refuse disposal system, for decades, the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County have been providing cost-effective, environmentally sound disposal for Los Angeles County.
Our Puente Hills Landfill, which closed last October, was essential in maintaining a public/private balance of facilities serving Los Angeles County that resulted in some of the lowest disposal costs in the country along with valuable recycling and disposal capacity for the county.
Although not operating right now, the waste-by-rail system is publicly owned and can ensure a public/private balance far into the future.
In the meantime, the Sanitation Districts are working to identify interim uses of the rail yards. In 2012, the new rail yard at the Mesquite Landfill was used to deliver huge windmill blades for the Ocotillo Wind project.
Not only did this interim use create local jobs and reduce highway impacts, it generated approximately $300,000 to help offset the maintenance costs of the waste-by-rail system.
We will continue to seek out interim uses for these facilities until the waste-by-rail system begins operation.
Regarding increases in disposal fees at the Puente Hills Landfill needed to pay for the waste-by- rail system, disposal is only a small fraction of the overall costs for residential collection, and the landfill rate was held constant over the last three operating years.
In closing, the waste-by-rail system will provide long term assurance of disposal capacity and local benefits such as jobs.
Very truly yours,
Grace Robinson Hyde
Chief Engineer and General Manager Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County