Future of Solid Waste Disposal

The Development of Modern Landfills

In days gone by, communities hauled trash to the "old town dump," buried it in a hole in the ground, covered it up, and forgot about it. Now local governments must design, operate, monitor, and close sanitary landfills in accordance with stringent and very costly federal and state regulations. These regulations require OC Waste & Recycling to control landfill gas, protect ground and surface water from contamination, prevent hazardous waste from entering the landfills, and assure that any hazardous waste that is discovered on site is properly handled, stored, and disposed of at a permitted facility designed to accept hazardous materials.

Daily Routine

Each day waste is delivered to the landfill in a variety of vehicles. At the landfill, trucks are directed to designated unloading areas where the waste is dumped, checked for hazardous or other unacceptable material, and pushed into place by bulldozers. The waste is then compacted and covered by an approved cover material (soil, foam, tarps or greenwaste). One day's worth of waste is called a cell. These cells are developed next to each other ultimately forming a lift or layer of trash. These lifts have been planned for in each landfill's master development plan. Lifts are constructed until a final elevation is reached which is the time the landfill stops receiving trash and closes.

When A Landfill Becomes Full

After the landfill closes, the site is capped and continues to be monitored for landfill gas and groundwater for a minimum of 30 years. During that time, the landfill site can be developed into a golf course, park or open space.

The Future of Solid Waste Disposal in Orange County

As Orange County's population continues to grow so will its waste. OC Waste & Recycling is responsible for ensuring that County waste is disposed of in a way that protects public health, safety and the environment.

Long-range strategic planning is necessary to ensure that waste generated by the County is safely disposed of and that the County's future disposal needs are met. The Regional Landfill Options for Orange County (RELOOC) is a 40-year strategic plan that was developed to evaluate options for waste disposal for Orange County citizens.

What are the RELOOC Goals?

  • To have a feasible, balanced and flexible 40-year strategic plan approved and ready for implementation by 2004 that addresses Orange County's solid waste disposal and capacity needs.

  • To protect Orange County's public health, safety and environment.

  • To sustain the economic viability of the Orange County's solid waste disposal system by ensuring consistent and reliable fee/rates and adequate revenue to maintain efficient, cost effective, high quality operations.

  • To provide a fair, objective, open, planning process that is: presented in nontechnical, easily understood terms; responsive to and involves stakeholders and the public; and results in public understanding.