Forster Canyon



    The site lies just east of the Interstate 5 Freeway, south of La Novia Avenue in the City of San Juan Capistrano.

Dates of Operation and Closure

    The County operated the refuse disposal station from 1958 to 1976.

Size and Types of Waste

    The 146-acre site, with an actual disposal area of approximately 50 acres, was constructed as an unlined sanitary solid waste disposal site. Most of the approximately 3 million cubic yards of waste materials disposed at the site have been identified as residential, commercial, industrial, demolition and inert wastes. The average depth of waste is 40 -50 feet. No liquid or hazardous wastes are known to have been disposed at the site.


  • 1957 County leased the 147-acre site from Marco and Elizabeth Forster.
  • 1958 County began municipal solid waste disposal operations at the site.
  • 1968 Property conveyed from Marco and Elizabeth Forster estate to W.E. and M.F. Holmes.
  • 1976 County ceased operations and closed the site.
  • 1977 County lease terminated and 3.3 feet of final cover placed on site.
  • 1982 Site sold to private developer.
  • 1991 A water Solid Waste Assessment Test (SWAT) conducted and report submitted to the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board (SDRWQCB). Property owner submitted Closure and Post-Closure Maintenance Plan (CP/PCMP) to Local Enforcement Agency (LEA).
  • 1993 Property owner proposed residential housing development around perimeter of site to City.
  • 1994 SDRWQCB issued Waste Discharge Requirements (WDR) Order No. 94-106 for the project, naming both property owner and County as “joint dischargers.”
  • 1998 Property owner submitted amended CP/PCMP to LEA. 2000 Property owner proposed equestrian center development at site to City.
  • 2001 SDRWQCB issued addendum No. 1 to WDR No. 94-106 specifying site maintenance requirements. County and property owner jointly submitted Storm Water Prevention Pollution Plan to SDRWQCB to comply with WDR. Property owner submitted a site maintenance plan to SDRWQCB to comply with the WDR. City adopted a Resolution initiating a general plan amendment process for the proposed equestrian center project.
  • 2002 Property owner pursuing a housing alternative instead of equestrian project.
  • 2003 SDRWQCB issued Notice of Violation (NOV) jointly to County and property owner for erosion control and storm water runoff. County installed permanent drainage structures at select locations on the site.
  • 2004 Property owner proposed residential housing around perimeter of waste prism, with an active-use park for soccer and baseball fields over the waste prism. In response, the LEA issued a letter to property owner requiring a re-write and combination of all previous versions of the CP/PCMP into two stand-alone documents, incorporating currently proposed land use and development plan for site. LEA further required updated CEQA analysis to evaluate all elements of site including areas above waste prism (drainage, landfill gas control, etc.). These requirements are mandatory prior to LEA approval of site re-development plans. Property owner filed a grading plan with the LEA.
  • 2005 Property owner received a five-year entitlement extension with option for two additional years for site related development from City. Entitlements expire in 2010 or 2012. Property owner submitted revised FC/PCMP to regulators.
  • 2007 LEA provided draft comments on technical components of revised FC/PCMP to property owner and its consultant, BAS.
  • 2008 LEA and County commented on Notice of Preparation (NOP) of Draft Environmental Impact Report for proposed commercial development, residential homes, and an equestrian center. LEA continues to provide draft comments on technical components of the revised FC/PCMP to property owner and its consultant, BAS.
  • 2010 In January, the City released an EIR for the Distrito la Novia/San Juan Meadows projects. The San Juan Meadows portion of the project is proposed for development on and around the disposal site, and includes 94 residential units and a 500-horse equestrian center. The EIR was certified and the project approved in November. The proposed development will necessitate the excavation and re-burial of waste on the top deck area of the former disposal site. An updated Closure Plan was included as a part of the EIR, but requires approval by CalRecycle and the LEA, as well as other regulatory agencies. A Citizen's Referendum was immediately called for ba a citizen group adverse to the project. The referendum is scheduled for a vote on June 7, 2011. 
  • 2011 The Referendum was not successful, and the owner/developer plans to move forward with the approved residential housing and equestrian center.  No work on the San Juan Meadows portion of construction can proceed until the updated Closure Plan is approved.  In the interest of long-term public health and safety, the County entered into an agreement with the owner/developer to provide funding for environmental systems and controls to be constructed and installed at the site during the development construction.
  • 2012 The site owner submitted a new Closure Plan to the LEA and RWQCB-SD. It is under review by both agencies.

Current Owner

    Advance Group 99–SJ (AG99-SJ)

Current Land Use

    Open space

Environmental Control Measures

    County conducts quarterly groundwater monitoring. Any additional control measures required because of development will be implemented during site closure.

Click here for property location.

Click here for closed site information on Cal Recycle's website.



View Forster Canyon in a larger map.

Please contact us at 714-834-4000 if you have any questions regarding this site.