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Response to the Final 2017 Clean Air Plan

Update: The 2017 Bay Area Clean Air Plan was adopted on Apr 19th, 2017 by BAAQMD (Bay Area Air Quality Management District). Below was our response to it.

I am writing on behalf of Milpitas REACH, a local grassroot movement, which has long been engaging BAAQMD to reduce air pollution from waste processing facilities near our communities. There has been over 30 violations issued by BAAQMD to area polluters within the last 2 years, one as recently as this week. We have been repeatedly told that Regulation 7 (odorous substance enforcement) will be improved through the new Clean Air Plan. We learned during January Board meeting that a draft for the clean air plan will be released.

Unfortunately, we had not been notified of its release and came to my attention today that Clean Air Plan public comment deadline was April 3rd.

Our group has not had the chance to review and provide inputs. We are disappointed that no open houses had been held is our area despite 7000+ odor complaints on record.

Kindly consider my response to the Proposed Final 2017 Clean Air Plan. I hope the following inputs can be included on record as our communities have long been directly impacted by recurring nuisance and emission violations from waste processing facilities in the area.

1. 2017 Plan Volume 2 — Stationary Source Sector, SS40:

Regulatory Context and Background: 

Seventy-three percent of those odor complaints came from a single community in the Bay Area, alleging odors from solid waste and other organic waste related facilities in the area.

Comment 1A: As a resident of the community mentioned, I request that the word “alleging” be revised to include the fact that hundreds of the alleged odors have been confirmed by air quality inspectors to waste processing facilities in the area which continues to impact surrounding communities.

Implementation Actions:

“Evaluate methods of detection and monitoring practices of odorous compounds.
Comment 1B: Impacted residents strongly desire the implementation of active odor monitoring devices and system to replace or supplement the odor complaint process. I recommend that the above statement be strengthened to “evaluate and implement”.
Comment 1C: The proposed actions failed to address deficiency in the current odor complaint process. Please consider improved processes such as deploy mobile or web app to file and track complaints including response time and inspector findings as well as eliminate the need for face to face confirmation if inspectors can adopt the use of mobile odor monitoring device.

“Evaluate the complaint threshold that triggers applicability of the regulation.

Comment 1D: Given our communities long struggle with recurring public nuisance violations, I recommend that the above action be supplemented with evaluating violation threshold with strict timeline for corrective actions including notice of abatement.  

Amend regulatory requirements to ensure best management practices for the control of odorous emissions, such as the requirement of odor mitigation plans

Comment 1E: Given that best management practices may not be adequate to meet state public nuisance code, actions should include amendment in Title V permits to ensure odor abatement can be proven before odor mitigation plan is adopted and permits are granted.

2. 2017 Plan Volume 2 — Waste Management Sector
WA1: Landfills
Implementation Actions:
The Air District will:
Propose amendments to Rule 8-34 to increase stringency of control and fugitive leak standards, and improve consistency with the LMCM and federal rules.
Comment 2A: As a resident in a community adjacent to Newby Island landfill which has had more than 8 recurring Reg 8-34 violations (landfill surface and well leaks), I welcome the proposed amendments. However, I would like to request that the most stringent rules and buffer zones are applied when site is in close proximity to human receptors. Toxicity of by-products of the gas collection systems must also be measured and regulated to eliminate health and safety impacts to on and off-site receptors.

Co-Benefits:

Increased capture of landfill gases would likely result in less potential for odor complaints.

Comment 2B: Odor nuisance is governed by Reg 3. Is there any revision to Reg 3 such that any correlation of odor to landfill gas control can drive enforcement actions through mandatory reduction of emissions? Permits should not be issued for sites with recurring public nuisance violations.

WA2: Composting & Anaerobic Digesters

Propose a rule to limit emissions from composting operations and anaerobic digesters, similar to San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District Rule 4566 and South Coast Air Quality Management District Rule 1133.

Comment 2C: As these facilities will continue to expand given state directive to divert waste from landfills, I would like to request that the most stringent rules and buffer zones are applied when site is in close proximity to human receptors. BAAQMD should consider latest studies and technologies beyond that currently adopted by SCAQMD or SJVAPCD. Permits should not be issued for sites with recurring public nuisance violations.
WA3: Green Waste Diversion
Issues/Impediments:
Siting of composting facilities has generated controversy in the past over the potential for odors coming from static piles, but modern composting facilities that implement best-available technology and effective operating procedures can reduce the potential of odors reaching homes and businesses. Some new composting facilities use closed systems that can be located within urban areas without disturbing people nearby. Funding for additional compost facilities to handle more green waste could be needed to support implementation of these action items.
Comment 2D: As a resident of a community that had been impacted by compost odor for decades, I would like to see BAAQMD play a more active role to deny permit or require operators to migrate to closed systems to mitigate recurring odor nuisance.
WA4: Recycling and Waste Reduction
Issues/Impediments:
No significant issues or impediments are anticipated due to the voluntary nature of this control measure.

Comment 2E: As a resident of a community that had been impacted by malodor and traffic emissions from recyclery aka materials recovery facilities at Newby Island Resource Recovery Park, the above statement failed to reflect the negative impact of sitting recyclery operations in urban centers. Please revise this section to reflect the odor and traffic impacts, along with appropriate evaluation and tighter regulation added to the implementation actions to protect adjacent communities.

Thank You for the consideration.

 

Newby Island Landfill Approved

Unfortunately, the San Jose planning commission on Dec 7th voted to approve the Newby Island Landfill expansion. The Garbage dump will be piled up to an unprecedented 245 feet and will remain open until 2041. They erroneously cited they need more Landfill capacity when they have plenty in the county. They also stated that they didn’t want to ship their Garbage to other communities and needed the expansion, but apparently it is okay to ship San Jose’s garbage to Milpitas and Monterey. They also argued that the extra height won’t contribute to more odor, use your common sense about that point, more garbage more odor.

City of San Jose has been hypocritical in its public policies.

On one hand, it issued Green Vision goal to divert 100% of waste out of landfills by 2022, and had used that goal to build over 12 new recycling and composting facilities. San Jose Mayor further endorsed Measure AA to raise $500 million to restore the bay from landfill and toxic pollution.

Newby Island’s Area Manager Mike Caprio told the planning commission that its existing permit has capacity through 2023-2025. This is not even including the 20+ years of excess landfill capacity at San Jose’s other landfills that have 0 violations.

Yet, the planning commission chose to expand Newby Island, completely disregarding 23 unresolved regulatory violations, its city municipal code and zero waste goal. No wonder City of San Jose is persistently ranked as one of the worst-run big cities in the country.

Thanks to the volunteers for all the efforts that went into last night’s San Jose Planning commission meeting on the Newby Island Landfill. Volunteers were preparing speeches, organizing for the bus ride/carpool. Special thanks to the brave folks who brave the rainy weather to speak on behalf of the community. Thanks Milpitas councilmembers Garry Barbadillo and Marsha Grilli and Milpitas Mayor Rich Tran for also showing up.

We had presented to San Jose at the start of the appeal process about how 44 landfills in San Francisco Bay had closed upon reaching capacity and converted to parks. None ever exceeded 150-160 feet height. But San Jose isn’t interested in superior alternatives.

Look at the stats:
San Francisco County has 0 landfills, Marin County has 0 landfills, San Mateo County has 1 landfill. Yet – San Jose city alone has 4 landfills.

The underlying problem is San Jose gets tax revenue per ton disposed at landfills, hence it chose to harbor more landfill capacity than it needs.

Again thanks to everyone who fought hard against the Newby Landfill expansion for the past 2 years and waiting out 10 deferrals.

You can watch a recording of the meeting when it gets posted here, look for “Dec 7th Planning commission meeting”,  http://sanjose.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=51&clip_id=9429 OR is prior link is broken try this link http://www.sanjoseca.gov/civiccentertv/.

San Jose’s new odor study on Newby is flawed

The San Jose Planning commission’s new odor study is flawed. BAAQMD (Bay Area Air Quality Management District) has written a letter outlining its concern. Attend the Dec 7th San Jose Planning commission meeting to stop the Newby Island Landfill from expanding. San Jose will attempt to use the flawed odor study to justify the expansion permit citing that the Newby Landfill is NOT a public nuisance.

Read more below:

BAAQMD and San Jose letters re Odor Study

Attend 11/14 Milpitas Council Special Meeting

Dear Concerned Residents,

We have seen how Republic Services spent more than half a million dollars to spread lies after lies to us. We have seen how they littered Calaveras and other streets in Milpitas. We have experienced their denying service to paying residents.
Today, at Milpitas City Council’s special meeting on garbage collection contract, Republic Services will want to rule our streets again for another decade with their same old trucks and same lousy service.
We are almost sure that, if given the contract, Republic Services will raise their price significantly in a couple years for no reason, just like they did in San Jose. They will surely raise it again if they will update their old trucks.
On the other hand, Garden City offers equity at the far superior SMaRT station, with 60% waste recovery rate (versus 35% at Republic Services’ recyclery, which is the biggest odor source, according to San Jose’s odor report, and where they will process our waste material if they get the contract). At a slightly higher price, Garden City will purchase new energy efficient trucks that come with more flexible robot arms and better designed loading tops that prevent spillage more efficiently.
If Garden City is selected, City of Milpitas will be able to negotiate further and try to include lower-price options. With equity at the SMaRT station, our city will have control over future price throughout the entire term of the contract.By the way, with Garden City, we can pick up free compost/mulch any time they are open.
Please attend the special meeting to ask the city council to award the contract to Garden City, TODAY.
The council meeting is scheduled at 6:30 pm. Republic Services will have people arrive at 6:00 pm. So be there early if you don’t want the chamber room filled with Republic Services.
See you there,
Milpitas REACH

CIWMP & Newby Island Landfill Expansion

Honorable Santa Clara County Recycling and Waste Reduction Commissioners, Division Staff and TAC members,

I am writing on behalf of Milpitas REACH, a grassroot movement advocating to stop Newby Island Landfill expansion for past 2 years. Over 23,000 have signed our “Stop Landfill Expansion” petition.

As you may already be aware, if the expansion is approved, Newby Island will rise to an unprecedented 245 feet above MSL, extending the life of what is already the largest landfill ever built along San Francisco Bay through 2041 in a densely populated and environmentally sensitive area with protected wildlife.

Due to recurring public nuisance and regulatory violations at the site including over 30 violations from 4 regulatory agencies in past 2 years, we feel strongly that the expansion project will be detrimental to the lives of 100,000 people who work and live in its immediate vicinity.

Unfortunately, City of San Jose Planning Staff issued a report last Friday and concluded that recurring violations are insignificant, even when 20 BAAQMD violations have not been formally resolved. The staff had recommended landfill expansion permit to be approved at the October 26 Planning Commission meeting, which I believe is irresponsible in light of open and recurring violations.

I am writing to seek your help with respect to your role in driving sustainable and responsible waste management plan for the region.

In the 4th Five-Year Review of the CIWMP, it is clearly stated that there is excess landfill capacity over what is required even without Newby Island expansion, as follows:

“Newby Island Landfill currently accepts about 60% of the County’s waste and has listed 5-7 years site life is currently undergoing a permit process for expansion. If the expansion goes through, then the site life will be extended to 20-25 years. If the expansion is denied, the calculation estimates splitting the material among the remaining two landfills within the County. The volume of material to each site would almost double their current volume which would decrease the site life by half. This reduction would be estimated at 20 some years which is greater than the 15 years for a Siting Element revision. ”

Since options are available, can you offer support by writing to San Jose Planning Staff and Commission to re-evaluate project alternatives, including tapping into regional landfill capacity and prioritizing waste diversion through non-disposal facilities, before urban landfills, such as Newby Island, are expanded any further?

Your assistance is much appreciated.

Regards
Milpitas REACH