Who owns and operates Otay Landfill?

Otay Landfill owned and operated by Otay Landfill, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Republic Services.

How much waste is accepted daily?

The facility is permitted to accept 6,700 tons of waste daily.

Where does the waste originate?

The waste disposed of at Otay Landfill is generated at homes and businesses from all across San Diego County.

What types of waste is accepted at the Landfill?

Otay Landfill accepts Municipal Solid Waste, Commercial Waste and Non-Hazardous Industrial Waste. We cannot accept electronic waste, batteries, or hazardous wastes.

What environmental protection systems are in place?

Engineered Landfill Liner System: The liner at the base of the landfill consists of 2 feet of compacted clay liner, a high-density polyethylene liner, a fabric drainage layer, gravel drainage corridors and leachate collection pipes, and 2 feet of protective cover. In total, there are 5 feet of constructed liner between the waste and the natural environment. All of the liners are thoroughly tested to meet regulations and ensure proper engineering construction standards.

Stormwater Collection: Rainwater, which does not touch any waste, must also be managed appropriately. Storm water runoff is collected and contained in a detention pond, which allows soil particles to be removed from the water before it is discharged to a nearby waterway.

Groundwater Monitoring: Otay Landfill assesses groundwater with 21 individual groundwater monitoring wells. Groundwater samples are collected and analyzed on a quarterly basis and reported to the state.

Gas collection: Once trash is disposed of, it naturally decomposes and produces gas. A landfill gas management system collects gas through a series of pipes and more than 294 gas wells. The system is monitored in accordance with local, state and federal requirements.

Partial Final Capping: Once we bring our elevation to final grade, we place a final cover over the top to entomb the waste. This cover keeps liquids out and gases in and ensures protection of the environment.

Who permits and inspects the facility?

The facility is fully permitted by multiple agencies, including CalRecycle, County of San Diego or Local Enforcement Agency, the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board, and the San Diego Air Pollution Control District. The Otay Landfill Local Enforcement Agency (LEA) is the primary agency that provides the regulatory permitting, enforcement, and operational compliance oversight. Otay Landfill is inspected at minimum once a month by at least one of these agencies.

Why do we need a landfill?

The residents and businesses of San Diego County generate thousands of tons of municipal solid waste on a daily basis. Otay Landfill serves as one outlet for proper disposal for this waste.

Is the Landfill really important to our community?

The Landfill is an integral part of the local economy and infrastructure. It provides jobs for local residents and affordable, responsible waste disposal options for residents and businesses.

What additional steps are taken to ensure that the Landfill is a good neighbor?

Proper daily operations are critical to environmentally sound waste disposal. All employees at Otay Landfill are trained to handle incoming waste in the most environmentally responsible manner. Access to the site is limited to one entrance/exit. The facility records and tracks all waste shipments with gate receipts and a network of video cameras. Each load of incoming waste is visually inspected to ensure that only permitted materials are accepted for disposal. Once unloaded, the waste is visually inspected again. At the end of each working day, daily cover is placed over the waste. Steps are also taken to control dust, litter and odor. Periodic watering of access roads prevents dust from rising when trucks travel in and out of the Landfill. Litter is minimized by limiting the size of the active disposal area, applying daily cover and using fencing on windy days to catch blowing materials. Any litter that blows off-site is collected by landfill personnel daily.

How do you control odors?

Landfill gas and odors are controlled with responsible landfill management practices such as waste compaction, applying daily cover per our permit, and the use of an effective landfill gas collection and control system, which includes 294 individual landfill gas wells and an on-site landfill gas-to-energy plant. The Landfill gas system is monitored frequently, enhanced regularly and expanded as needed. Landfill personnel also conduct routine off-site odor inspections to detect and manage potential off-site odor.

How do you control birds at the Landfill?

Birds are controlled primarily by utilizing daily or alternate daily cover to make the facility less desirable to them. However, when they are present, we utilize humane “whistlers” in an effort to make the Landfill a less desirable congregation area, as well as certified falconers as bird control. Otay Landfill is also considering emerging technology such as drones to for bird control.

What is the life expectancy of the Landfill?

There is capacity for approximately 15 more years of disposal at current disposal rates.

What happens once the Otay Landfill stops being used as a landfill?

Once the Landfill is filled to capacity, a final landfill capping system will be installed that consists of an engineered soil liner, cover soils, and a vegetation layer. At that time the site could be used as an open green space, parks, wildlife viewing area, or nature trails.

The site will also be maintained for an additional 30 years in post-closure care after the final closure. This care includes continued groundwater monitoring, leachate management, and compliance reporting until such time regulators approve the site for final closure.

How long does it take for something to breakdown in a landfill?

Organic waste can decompose within months, while non-organic waste such as plastics and glass can take 450-1,000 years to fully decompose.

When is the Landfill open for business?

Otay Landfill is open Monday through Saturday from 6:00am – 5:00pm. Otay Landfill is closed on Sundays and major holidays.

Can I take a tour of the Landfill?

Yes, landfill tours are offered. Please call (619) 421-3773 to arrange a time for a group tour.