Study Reveals Looming Crisis In County Landfill Space

Southern California faces shortages in landfill space that will adversely impact communities across the region, according to a new report from Claremont McKenna College’s Rose Institute of State and Local Government. The report released today, Regional Solid Waste in Southern California for the New Millennium, coincides with the state-sponsored waste management summit being held at the Industry Hills Sheraton Hotel in the City of Industry.

The Rose report reveals that Los Angeles County disposal capacity shortfalls could be felt by 2000 with full impact on the region by 2007. Significantly, the report urges cities and county policymakers to implement waste by rail, also called “rail haul,” of solid waste to desert sites if the county and region are to meet the challenge.

The economic recession of the early 1990s along with state-mandated recycling programs reduced the generation of Los Angeles County solid waste. Since that time, the county’s booming economy and incorrect predictions by county officials about the need for new landfill capacity have combined to create a serious and growing waste disposal problem, according to the report.

“Southern California’s population is rapidly growing again and our economy is robust. That is good news, but it means our county landfill capacity will soon be exhausted,” warns Alan Heslop, director of the Rose Institute and a co-author of the study.

Heslop compares the looming waste crisis to management of another basic resource–water. “Public agencies should consider purchasing future capacity rights to rail haul landfills, just as we purchase rights to water,” said Heslop.

As a remedy, the report recommends “public-private” partnerships between various local municipalities and landfill operators.

Call (909) 621-8159 to obtain a copy of the study or to arrange an interview with co-author and institute director Alan Heslop, Ph.D.

The Rose Institute of State and Local Government is California’s leading think tank analyzing political, demographic, and fiscal data and trends. Claremont McKenna College is a highly selective independent liberal arts college preparing students for responsible leadership in business and public affairs. CMC enrolls 1,000 students and is a member of The Claremont Colleges.