San Diego County Seeking Expansions

San Diego County, Calif. -- San Diego County has estimated its five trash facilities will reach their approved capacity in less than three years. As a result, several expansions have been proposed in addition to plans for a new landfill. The Gregory Canyon Landfill, slated for 320 acres on a 1,770-acre site in North County, would give the region an additional 30 years of capacity, according to county estimates. Opposition, however, by the Pala Band of Mission Indians, who live on a nearby reservation, and some environmental groups has slowed progress on the landfill, which is still in the permitting process. The tribe is hoping to overturn the 1994 approval of the landfill when Proposition B comes to the ballot on November 2.

The Sycamore and Miramar landfills also have more space available and are seeking permits to use it. If expanded, the Sycamore landfill could offer an additional 35 years of capacity, and the Miramar landfill would allow eight more years. Other area landfills have room to expand as well but have not taken steps to secure the extra capacity as of yet.

In the meantime, the region is considering shipping more waste out of state and increasing recycling to stretch current capacities. The amount of waste actually disposed in the county landfills increased from 2.4 million tons in 1995 to 3.6 million tons in 2001.