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Davis, California

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

UC Davis waste now goes to county landfill

As of last month, virtually all of UC Davis’ municipal solid waste is now diverted to the Yolo County Central Landfill. It lies just over three miles away from the City of Davis limits.

In an addendum to the UC Davis Long Range Development Plan filed this August, “the campus has determined that using a regional landfill … would be more efficient than continuing to operate and expand the campus landfill.”

The change comes in the midst of the university policy goal of zero municipal solid waste by 2020. Previously, the campus landfill – located on campus along County Road 98 – was set for use through 2040.

UC Davis expects to contribute around 8,200 tons per year of municipal solid waste to the county landfill.

This amount is completely within the county landfill’s capabilities. According to 2010-11 fiscal year data, the county landfill disposed of 178,934 of municipal solid waste. The landfill received an additional 100,000 tons last year of other materials such as wood, electronic waste and construction material. The tonnage from UC Davis would account for merely 1 percent of the county’s permitted annual capacity.

The County Landfill, at a glance

The Yolo County Central Landfill is able to dispose many different types of waste. Here, many residents come to unload large furniture that would otherwise be unable to fit in the city garbage bins. Car batteries, among other things, may be disposed free of charge.

By the biggest garbage piles, the sound of seagulls is unmistakable. Hundreds of them flock around the dirt piles where bulldozers amble and garbage trucks unload their day’s collections. By day’s end all garbage must either be covered with dirt or a black tarp to facilitate the decomposing process.

Covering the garbage is also done to ward off the birds.

The facility has employed a variety of techniques to ward off the seagulls. Fake hawks, model airplanes and recorded seagull noises have all been used, said Linda Peterson, deputy director of the Yolo County Landfill.

The county landfill is one of a handful of landfills in the nation to use liquid and leachate recirculation to manage solid waste. Generally speaking, most landfills cover their waste with dirt to facilitate decomposition. The Yolo County Landfill’s now decade-long project uses liquids to accelerate this process. While this method is by no means the primary method for waste disposal, it is the landfill’s goal to shed light on more efficient forms of waste management.

Additionally, the county landfill generates electricity from the methane gas it releases. It generates about two megawatt of energy per year for Yolo County residents.

The Yolo County Landfill also offers a number of free items. Since some products are illegal to dispose, the county landfill has collected a number of household items, including interior paints, aerosols and even pool-cleaning supplies.

The landfill is open from 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Mondays through Saturdays and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

RAMON SOLIS can be reached at city@theaggie.org.



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