California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 

News Release

Office of Public Affairs

For Immediate Release: April 25, 2014
Release #2014-14
For more information contact:
Media Contact: Heather Jones

CalRecycle Grants Help Clean Up Illegally Dumped Waste in Rural Areas

SACRAMENTO--Six jurisdictions will receive state funding to clean up and restore 36 rural sites that have been sullied with illegally dumped material.

The Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) awards grants to public entities through its Farm and Ranch Cleanup Account to clean up illegally disposed waste on farm and ranch property owned by innocent parties. The funds are primarily used to pay for the removal and proper disposal of nonhazardous solid waste, which is a potential health and safety hazard and can contaminate local water supplies. Recipients can also use some of the funds for security or other measures to prevent future dumping once a cleanup is completed.

“Illegal dumping can be a serious burden for isolated farm and ranch areas,” CalRecycle Director Caroll Mortensen said. “It degrades the land, lowering production potential, and once an area becomes an illegal dump site, it’s targeted by repeat offenders, so the problem grows until it’s solved. It can get prohibitively expensive for a private landowner.”

There are three grant cycles each year for the Farm and Ranch Grant Program. CalRecycle awarded $436,759 for this third cycle of the 2013/2014 fiscal year. The following is a complete listing of the current recipients.

Applicant Number of Sites Grant Amount
Del Norte County 5 $119,096
Los Angeles County 3 $49,331
City of Lancaster 2 $99,402
Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County 1 $24,830
Trinity County Resource Conservation District 20 $100,000
Yolo County 5 $44,100
Total 36 $436,759
  • In Del Norte County, used tires and other trash have been repeatedly dumped over the course of many years at five heavily wooded sites. Much of the refuse ends up in nearby Rowdy Creek, a fish-bearing stream. After the cleanup, the county will install barriers and post signs to discourage future dumping. The properties are zoned for timber production.
  • Los Angeles County will use the grant funds to clean up three sheep-grazing sites in the northern, rural part of the county. More than 3,100 cubic yards of garbage, including tires, appliances, construction debris, and electronic waste, have been dumped at the sites. After the cleanups, funds will also be used for community public education about the environmental hazards of illegal dumping, and for increased surveillance.
  • In the City of Lancaster, funds will be used to clean up the adjacent sites of two former turkey farms. The many coops on the sites have served as hidden illegal dumping locations for many years. The coops are now collapsing, but the dumping continues. The City of Lancaster plans to recycle all the wood on the site, properly dispose of any hazardous material, and restore the properties to farm or ranch use.
  • In Santa Cruz County, a parcel near Watsonville with a 100-year-old apple orchard has been the target of illegal dumping: Green Valley Creek and its creek bank are strewn with cars, appliances, and other trash. Since the property is now fenced and occupied, making it unlikely to suffer future dumping, the funds will be used only to clean up the existing refuse.
  • The Trinity County Resource Conservation District will work with the California Conservation Corps and CAL FIRE inmate crews to clean up 20 sites that have been littered with household trash. After the properties have been restored, the district will install signs and barriers to prevent future dumping and conduct public education campaign on the hazards of illegal dumping.
  • The Cache Creek Conservancy will work with Yolo County and volunteers to remove illegally dumped waste from five sites along the creek. The trash is contaminating the creek and could potentially contaminate the adjacent farmland, which is currently being used for orchards, row crops, and grazing.

Under the Farm and Ranch Cleanup program, cities, counties, federally recognized Native American tribes, and resource conservation districts may apply for up to $200,000 per fiscal year but no more than $50,000 per site. The city or county must determine that the property owner is not responsible for the dumping. Upon appropriation from the annual budget act, funds are transferred into the Farm and Ranch Cleanup Account from the Integrated Waste Management Account, the Tire Recycling Management Fund, and the Used Oil Recycling Fund. There is no cost to the state’s General Fund.

For more information see CalRecycle’s Farm and Ranch Solid Waste Cleanup and Abatement Grant Program webpages.

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