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Holtville Council Adopts Organic Waste Ordinance

HOLTVILLE — The Holtville City Council on Jan. 27 voted unanimously to pass an ordinance complying with a state recycling law, Assembly Bill 1826.

The state measure seeks to recycle 75 percent of recyclable solid waste and organic waste, including food waste, green waste, landscape and pruning waste, nonhazardous wood waste, and food-soiled paper waste. It will be done in a three- phase program requiring increasingly stringent regulations.

The bill was passed in 2014 and implemented in the spring of 2016. Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, businesses, hospitals, schools, restaurants, stores, nonprofits and multifamily buildings were required to recycle organic waste if they generated four cubic yards or more of solid waste per week.

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The ordinance will help the city meet state compliance, explained City Manager Nick Wells. In order to achieve the 75 percent goal Holtville contracted with CR&R Environmental Services to establish regular organic-waste recycling pickup from the required entities.

Under AB 1826’s original limitations no Holtville business produced enough organic waste to fall under the restrictions, noted Wells. But as the threshold ratcheted down, more entities qualified and still more will qualify as the threshold continues to drop.

In December and January, initial hearings were held at city hall with no public input offered. So the ordinance will now be implemented in 30 days, Feb. 27, Wells indicated.

Some Exceptions

But there are some exemptions. For commercial solid-waste customers, multi-family dwellings and those in charge of special events, etc., if they can document for the city manager’s office they generate no solid organic waste on site, they are exempt. They are also exempt if they lack adequate space on site for waste containers and if it is infeasible for a solid-waste customer to share containers with an adjacent commercial or multifamily dwelling.

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Any entity that desires an exemption must submit a written request with the city manager’s office documenting the circumstance justifying the request. City staff may visit any potential exempt site.

An exemption can be denied if the above requirements are not met. Also, a city resolution may impose an administrative fee on petitioning entities to cover the cost of such petitions. The city can require an entity granted an exemption to seek renewal every two years.

Collection Rules

All organic-waste customers must also subscribe to a collection service or commit to self-hauling waste to a service that accepts recyclable materials. They must ensure their recyclable materials do not contain an unacceptable level of contamination.

Commercial collection sites must keep enough containers to segregate all types of organics and recyclables. All containers must be labeled with the name of acceptable materials for each bin. Training materials must be distributed to all employees and a copy must be provided to the city upon request. Commercial collection sites could be fined for excessive levels of contamination. The same applies to those responsible for special events.

Inspections and Fines

The city manager’s staff can inspect any commercial collection service or self-hauler to ensure compliance. The city may also inspect any collection container of recyclable or organic waste, or inspect the premises of any residence, commercial business, multifamily dwelling or special events site to ensure compliance.

The city can administer fines for violating any of the above provisions. A violation notice will be issued to any waste collector, waste customer, business or special-event producer for a violation when notice is served for public nuisance proceedings or enforcement proceedings under the city’s code.

California landfills take in 30 million tons of waste each year of which more than 30 percent is estimated to be organic. The state has determined these organics should be composted or used to produce renewable energy instead of going into landfills.

The state has identified decomposing organic waste as producing much of the greenhouse gas emissions in the air and contributing to climate change. Once the 2019 annual report is submitted on Aug. 1, 2020, CalRecycle will conduct a review of all state jurisdictions.


This story is featured in the Jan 30, 2020 e-Edition.