San Diego City Council approves expansion of Sycamore Landfill

Dump off SR-52, Mast Blvd. will grow by 26 acres


The San Diego City Council on Monday unanimously approved an expansion of the Sycamore Landfill, despite opposition from some residents of nearby Santee.

According to a city staff report, the nearly 500-acre dump off state Route 52 and Mast Boulevard will grow by 26 acres.

The size of the expansion is about one-quarter of what was first proposed four years ago, and the amount of waste that will be brought to the facility on the San Diego-Santee city limits is also less than originally planned.

With the vote, the council also gave the operators of the dump – San Diego Landfill Systems Inc. – the option to run the facility 24 hours a day.

Opponents who spoke to the council members said they opposed a round-the-clock operation.

However, Neil Moore, general manager of the landfill's operator, said the 24-hour schedule will only be studied as a way to reduce traffic on nearby roads during peak hours. There were currently no plans to actually run the landfill all hours of the day, he said.

Residents of surrounding neighborhoods additionally complained about a daily stench that emanates from the dump. They are also fighting a proposed power plant near the landfill.

"We absolutely need to start thinking about, going down the road, how we're going to manage our trash and recycling in the years ahead," said Councilwoman Marti Emerald, who represents the area.

With the Miramar Landfill projected to reach capacity in about a decade, city leaders have been pushing residents to lower their garbage output and increase recycling efforts.

Moore said the expansion will allow the dump to keep operating until about 2040.

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