Republic Services and other facilities throughout California lobbied and killed AB 1975 (the odor taskforce bill). Opposition worked it hard this year and got facilities throughout the state to send letters and call their assembly members. Not enough votes to get the bill off the Assembly floor. It is very disappointing that other state assemblymen would go against a harmless bill that merely mandates the participation of odor nuisance offenders in a local task force. Kansen Chu’s staff will continue working with the air districts and local enforcement agency to see if something else can be done outside of legislation in the meantime.
Dear Friends and Neighbor,
It is our mission to fight the environmental injustice and push for odor abatement in the South Bay. One important activity we do is to work with government agencies to enforce regulations. As experience has taught us, we need to pay close attention every step of the way.
In this update, we will share with you the latest about Newby’s composting operation, and why and how you should file complaints with government authorities.
Newby’s Static Pile Composting, Its Risks, and Our Requests
Newby’s composting operation has probably been the biggest offender to our air quality. As the result of a class action litigation, that operation has been ordered to be converted to the Covered Aerated Static Pile (CASP). Feel free to google this term, and you will be pleased.
However, things can still go wrong in many ways. With those gigantic piles of organic material sitting on a high open ground and prevailing wind blowing our way, one single leak can turn our beautiful city to smell worse than a cow town.
San Jose LEA, the local enforcement agency for CalRecycle, the governing body for solid waste operations, has been willfully ignoring the myriads of complaints we filed by phone and online. Recently, this agency has hired a new supervisor, and we took the opportunity to address our specific concerns. Our very own Ms L. has done the heavy lifting and written a compelling letter to both San Jose LEA and CalRecycle to demand specific conditions to be included in Newby’s CASP permit. Her letter is attached at the end of this message.
Everyone Can and Should Help
Every progress we make is because of your support. The government officials are willing to talk to us because the number of your complaints weighed in.
We ask you to raise your standards for our environmental well being. Try to report whenever and wherever you smell foul air.
For landfill odor, call Odor Hotline at (800) 334-6367
For composting odor, file the CalEPA online form. Make sure to select “Solid Waste” on the form.
It takes more than a town to change the way things are done. Only with a mounting evidence based on the complaint number can we ask for more measures from the authorities. We are also pushing for odorous gas meters installed at selected sites to monitor air quality from that perspective. We dream of a day when BAAQMD (Bay Area Air Quality Management District) will publish H2S readings in our area.
So, please keep reporting. Spread the words and get more people to call and file. Tell people we don’t have to live with this. Tell everyone we deserve better.
South Bay Eco Citizens
Subject: Public comment for SWIS# 43-AN-0017 permit (Newby Island CASP conversion
Hi Bryan and Bob (cc CalRecycle),
As the surrounding land-use continues to be urbanized, I hope LEA will work in tandem with CalRecycle and BAAQMD to bolster permit conditions and drive Newby Island towards effective odor abatement, rather than place the burden on impacted communities to rely on the judicial process. The 2016 class action settlement court order driving this CASP conversion is already the second court order for Newby Island compost operations. Please see to it that stronger permitting and enforcement processes are in place.
Kindly consider my inputs below for the above permit application:
Concern #1: Uncovered compost-related operations
Conversion to Covered Aerated Static Piles (CASP) alone may not adequately abate odor since green waste grinding operation, stockpile and material transfers to/from compost piles remain uncovered despite being confirmed sources of odor (per BAAQMD’s investigations). The proposed cover (wood chips) is not a permanent fixture and may be damaged by wind erosion or improper maintenance. Palo Alto Public Works had openly published the following conclusion in its decision to end composting operation within its city boundary: “While many technologies can control process odors, only a structure that covers the entire operation (like a building) can control odors that generate from moving the compost into the vessels or from process area to process area.” .
Concern #2: Risk of increased odor nuisance during CASP transition
Based on Republic Services West Contra Costa Landfill’s recent struggle with Covered Aerated Static Piles technology (including a cease-and-desist order from the LEA), I am concerned over any odor nuisance from unforeseen problems as the operator appears to still be learning and developing CASP BMPs. Additionally, the operator expects increased transfer of materials during the CASP transition. These transfers, if not properly managed, could increase odor nuisance.
Concern #3: Permit enforcement
While public nuisance condition has always been a condition in the compost permit, LEA has not demonstrated to the public that it is committed to enforce this condition. From 2014 to 2017, LEA has only issued 1 violation (9/15/2015) to Newby Island Compost operation despite BAAQMD’s recurring statements that the compost operation is a dominant odor source and continue to forward confirmed compost complaints to LEA. There is no transparency in the process for the public to track LEA’s responses to these confirmed compost complaints.
To address the above concerns, I strongly urge you to consider the inclusion of strict permit conditions to protect public welfare:
A. Decrease the maximum limit of compost throughput until CASP technology is proven to reduce odor by more than 90% (based on projections cited in the 2016 class-action settlement).
B. If odor nuisance continues, adoption of fully enclosed composting technology (eg. in-vessel) that has been proven in urban areas must be evaluated.
C. Require preventive measures based on learnings from West Contra Costa CASP implementation.
D. As wood-chip cover may be prone to wind erosion and poor maintenance, LEA should require the most effective cover/bio-filter material to control odor as well as influence applicants to install trees as wind and odor barrier.
E. Prominently include number of confirmed compost complaints forwarded by BAAQMD and corrective action taken in LEA’s monthly inspection reports, and commit to timely issuance of public nuisance violations.
Thank You again for the opportunity to comment on the permit revision.
update 01/20/2017: our appeals was rejected.
After San Jose Planning commission upheld the decision on Dec 7th for the Newby Island Landfill Expansion Permit, Milpitas REACH filed an appeal on Dec 12th. Here is our appeal: NewbyDec12thResidentAppeal.
San Jose Planning Commission voted 5-0 Wednesday to allow a nearly 100-foot vertical expansion to the Newby Island Landfill.
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/.
Republic Services is still pursuing Newby Island landfill expansion permit, and San Jose Planning Commission will make a decision on Dec 7th, 6:30pm at San Jose City Hall. All residents are encouraged to attend the meeting and speak up.
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:
Dear Concerned Residents,
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.