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Supervisors Approve Lower Tipping Fee at Tajiguas Landfill for Loads of Montecito Debris

Debris from the Montecito area can be taken to Tajiguas Landfill now, after the Santa Barbara County supervisors approved an urgency ordinance to establish a $55-per-ton tipping fee for loads of dirt, rocks and trees.

The debris will be sorted at the landfill, and rocks and dirt would be stockpiled on site or sold, with trees and plant material turned into mulch for the county program, said Mark Schleich, deputy director of resource recovery and waste in the county Public Works Department.

Estimates of the total debris that came down into Montecito during the deadly Jan. 9 storm range from 1 million to 2 million cubic yards, Schleich said, and a typical five-axle semi dump truck can carry about 15 yards of material.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and county Public Works Department have coordinated debris removal on roadways, debris basins and creek channels, but private property owners have to deal with waste removal on their land.

The county has released guides for debris removal and resources for waste disposal, as well as creating a materials exchange website where people can post requests for getting, or getting rid of, boulders, sand, dirt, or other debris materials.

Most requests have been for decorative boulders, a size of 1-3 feet, when unfortunately most of the boulders are in the 5-7-foot range, Schleich said.

There is limited local capacity for dumping the material, and hauling options are expensive, which led to the idea for allowing loads to be taken to Tajiguas Landfill.

People are paying about $750 for every 10-yard truck trip, First District Supervisor Das Williams said, adding that a closer destination should bring down the price.

Allowing loads to be taken at Tajiguas Landfill should not create as much truck traffic as the initial response, when a steady parade of vehicles ferried debris away from Montecito and Carpinteria.

“Private property owners will probably not respond as quickly as the Army Corps and we did,” Schleich said, noting that homeowners and others will need to deal with insurance, permits and finding haulers.

The county has been encouraging people to store debris on their properties as much as possible – incorporating it into landscaping – or using the materials exchange.

The $55-per-ton tipping fee in the urgency ordinance is less than the $99-per-ton fee for municipal solid waste, according to the county.

More information is available on the county Less is More website.

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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