San Diego Waste Officials To Make Key Permit Decision On Proposed Riverfront Garbage Dump

San Luis Rey River Jan 2010.jpg


The San Luis Rey River.  (Photo credit: Pala Band of Mission Indians)

The County of San Diego is weighing whether to grant a key permit for a 300-acre garbage dump that would be built on the banks of the San Luis Rey River in north San Diego County.  I’ve blogged often about this project, which would threaten drinking water supplies for tens of thousands of people and desecrate lands held sacred by the Luiseño Indians.

The landfill’s severe environmental impacts have prompted EPA, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the regional water board to scrutinize the project carefully and demand additional information about how the developer would mitigate these impacts.  Those permitting processes are continuing, but the County now believes it has enough information to decide whether to grant the permit that will allow the facility to operate.

It would be a huge mistake for the County to grant this permit.  The County’s own consultants rejected this exact location back in the 1990s because the site is on top of a drinking water aquifer, next to historic archaeological sites, near an active earthquake fault, within the river’s floodplain, and in the middle of endangered species habitat.  You couldn’t pick a more inappropriate spot for a garbage dump if you tried.

What’s more, the County doesn’t even need this dump.  County residents and businesses are diverting their waste and recycling at historic rates, and the downturn in the economy has meant less consumption and less waste overall.

Next week, the County is holding a public informational meeting where citizens can air their concerns about this permit.  Ironically, this meeting about a dump that would threaten to leak toxic chemicals into drinking water supplies is being held at the Fallbrook Public Library, which was recently renovated with the latest water-saving and sustainability techniques and is now LEED-Silver certified.  I’m especially impressed with the library’s “green roof,” which is similar to the one pictured below.  According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the roof consists of 3,500 square feet of plants that help insulate the building and absorb rainwater.

LA green roof.JPG

Green roof in Vista Hermosa Park, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, Los Angeles.  (Photo Credit: Ken Weston and Reza Iranpour/City of Los Angeles)

Southern California needs more water-saving projects like the renovated Fallbrook library, and fewer water-polluting projects like the Gregory Canyon landfill.  A broad coalition of environmentalists, Native Americans, community groups and elected officials are united in our opposition to the dump.  If you live in north San Diego County, join us at the Fallbrook Public Library (directions here) on Wednesday, February 23rd at 6:30 p.m. and stand up for clean water by urging the County to reject this permit.