San Diego digs up trash to protect air, search for treasures

Wells will help control methane gases
Posted at 6:11 PM, Jun 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-21 21:11:35-04

City of San Diego crews are digging several wells this week in area landfills to safely pump methane out of the ground. 

At the same time, it has given city employees a glimpse at what San Diegans threw away decades ago.

On Tuesday, crews dug two wells at the Chollas Landfill, which was retired in 1983.  The wells are attached to a system that pumps the methane gases away to be safely burned.

“[We] make sure that it’s not being released into the atmosphere and causing any damage,” said City of San Diego spokesman Jose Ysea. “We don’t want it to go up into the atmosphere so we burn it off before it goes out.”

Crews dig upwards of a hundred feet into the old landfill to access the gases. The drill pulled to the surface a bunch of items that confirmed, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

“This is kind of cool because it’s kind of like a time capsule,” said Ysea, who grabbed a shovel and started sifting through the trash and dirt that was brought to the surface for the first time in decades.

Crews found old shoes, newspapers from 1976 and 1978, and old Jack in the Box kids meal boxes.

Ysea said many people would be surprised to learn the newspapers and other items in the trash have not disintegrated in 40 years.

“That’s one of the reasons why it’s so important to recycle, because a lot of this stuff really does not go away anytime soon,” he said.

The city will drill more wells at the Miramar Landfill on Wednesday.