The planning commission rejects the appeal to stop the approved waste handling facility

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FAIRFIELD — James Schneider told the Solano County Planning Commission Thursday night that US Ecology is not telling the full story about its proposed waste transfer facility on an 8-acre site about a half-mile west of Dixon.

He appealed a December 16 decision by the zone administrator approving the revised occupancy permit to operate the transfer station.

Schneider had no doubts about the credentials US Ecology brought to his work, but wondered why the operation had to be in a purely agricultural area rather than an industrial area. He suspected financial reasons.

More seriously, Scheider argued that the company was not transparent about what it would be doing at the site, arguing that in some cases it had provided inadequate information and misleading or total lack of information on other matters.

He claimed that hazardous materials were being handled on the site, which was not part of the public notice, and that the county failed to consider the economic impact on neighboring properties. He noted that a home other than the one on the site is within the required 500 feet of the site and has not been disclosed or addressed either.

“I urge, in principle, to refuse this and to ask the (company) to reapply with due attention,” said Schneider.

The commission voted 4-1 to support the project, with Kay Cayler opposed. She cited her relationships with people in the poisons and toxicology industry, but did not address specific concerns.

However, she asked what steps the applicant takes in the event of a spill on site.

US Ecology representative Ron Matta said the materials handled are bagged at the point of collection, then filled into containers and loaded onto trucks. These trucks come to the transhipment center, the containers are loaded onto other trucks and taken off the premises without ever being opened. And while there are sometimes hazardous materials, the company complies with all government regulations.

He argued that previous on-site tenants handled far more hazardous materials, namely pesticides, without the same safety precautions or strong industrial history.

The waste transfer facility property is owned by Betschart Enterprises LLC of Dixon.

“US Ecology would group together containers from different companies and/or customers (such as Home Depot, Harbor Freight, auto repair shops, etc.) containing different types of waste material. This waste would include defective consumer products, non-hazardous waste, e-waste, general purpose waste, California regulated waste and (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) waste. This facility does not treat municipal or medical waste at this location. . . . None of the containers would be opened at the proposed Dixon facility,” the staff report for the Dec. 16 meeting said.

The majority of the commission agreed with planning manager Allan Calder, who is acting as zone administrator, and the county planning staff that the project meets all requirements with the local conditions that were placed on the facility, as well as the state agency regulations it must be complied with – particularly the Department of Toxic Substance Control.

A complaint can be lodged with the supervisory board against the decision of the commission within 10 days.

A second call for a proposed bulkley road poultry farm continued. The occupancy permit for this project was also approved by Calder on December 16th.

On other matters, the commission elected Kelly Rhoads-Poston of the 3rd Circuit as the next Chair, while Cayler of the 4th Circuit will continue as Vice-Chair. The chairwoman was Paula Bauer from the 2nd district.

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