Kettleman City…

Kettleman City’s toxic landfill almost at capacity


The West’s largest hazardous-waste landfill is running out of room after four years of expansion attempts have been stymied by tragedy in nearby Kettleman City.
State authorities put the expansion on hold after community activists in 2009 reported a rash of birth defects in Kettleman City, implicating the landfill’s toxic burial ground 3.5 miles away.
There have been months of government investigation, studies, updates and continued monitoring, none of which so far has turned up a connection between the birth defects and the landfill. There is no firm timetable among government agencies yet for action on the application to expand.
Meantime, truckloads of hazardous waste have been reduced by more than 90% — diverted to other landfills in California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah. And Kettleman Hills landfill owner Waste Management Inc., one of the world’s largest garbage companies, remains in limbo.
The company has laid off more than half the 90-plus workers at the landfill. Before 2008, Kings County was annually getting more than $2 million in fees from hazardous waste deliveries. The money stream has almost disappeared.

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