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    Santa Paula: Trash Collection Emergency and Chloride Deterioration

    By Sheryl Hamlin

    On April 15, 2020, Santa Paula Public Works Director, Clete Saunier, presented the first calendar quarter of 2020 departmental report covering the entire department.

    The City is keeping the entire Public Works Department functioning even though they are forced to maintain social distancing. For example, only one person is allowed in a truck. The water department is split between two locations so not to risk a quarantine of the entire department in the case of one sick employee. The wastewater plant is closed to only those who need to be in the plant for operational purposes.

    The Director presented two notable slides about major public works issues: chlorides in the wastewater and trash pickup.

    Chlorides at Wastewater Plant

    The first slide shows that chlorides at both points of measurement are above the 110 mg/L which is the level specified by the CDO (Cease and Desist Order). The Director indicated they are working on a proposal for a solution using reverse osmosis. Read the council study session here

    Source Staff Report

    Athens Trash Changes

    The second notable slide concerned trash collection. Athens has informed the city that due to the Covid-19 social distancing, they cannot process the recyclables so are merging the trash and recycling streams into one which all go to landfill.

    Source Staff Report


    Not discussed were the affects of this extra material on the Toland Land Fill which is already brimming due to the Thomas Fire. Additionally Toland is one of the landfills for which the State of California has requested data on PFA toxicity. PFA’s are called the “forever chemicals”. Read about PFA toxicity here.

    Why would the County of Ventura or the City of Santa Paula accept this change in service? New recyling systems include optical sorting, robotics and AI (Artificial Intelligence) The video in the previous link is extremely informative. Is the county planning to require vendors to upgrade? Why would we want to fill up the landfill with recyclables as shown in the image below?

    Overflowing Recycle Bin destined for Toland Landfill


    Such questions should be asked before cities blindly accept service changes. The goal should be zero waste sent to landfill.

    To watch the video and download the staff report here.

    For more information about the author click sherylhamlin dot com

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