The Mesquite Regional Landfill became operational in 2008 and has been constructed as a sanitary landfill that features state-of-the-art environmental control and monitoring systems. These systems ensure the landfill meets or exceeds stringent local, state, and federal environmental requirements. Environmental protection features include:
The landfill has redundant groundwater protection features. First, the site was selected because it has little rain and high evaporation. What groundwater does exist is in bedrock at depths of 140 to 500 feet below ground. Second, the landfill will be underlain by a multiple layered liner system that meets or exceeds all regulatory standards. Further, an extensive groundwater monitoring system has been provided to ensure the barriers are functioning properly.
Landfill Gas Recovery
Landfill gas is a natural byproduct of decomposition of organic materials and is primarily composed of methane gas and carbon dioxide. A gas collection network will be engineered into the waste to collect the landfill gas so that gas is not vented to the atmosphere. The gas will be destroyed by combustion in an engineered flare. When feasible, the recovered landfill gas will be used to produce electricity and, potentially, vehicle fuel. A team of specially trained engineering technicians will monitor the gas collection system to ensure optimal performance.
Covering and Compacting Refuse
All waste will be compacted and covered daily with 6 to 12 inches of clean soil or other suitable cover material to reduce the potential for litter, odors, vectors, and fire. The final landfill surface will be designed to minimize erosion, maintain a stable and environmentally protective final cover, and blend with the surrounding area.
Dust and Litter Control
Water trucks will routinely moisten roadways and the disposal area with water to reduce dust. Many of the site roads will be paved to reduce dust generation. A maintenance crew will monitor nearby areas for litter. Temporary fencing will be used to capture blowing litter on windy days.
Screening of Unacceptable Wastes
Unacceptable wastes include hazardous waste, liquid waste, and other wastes prohibited by permit. Collected waste will be screened to remove unacceptable items at materials recovery/transfer facilities before the waste is transported to the landfill. Waste unloaded at the landfill will be screened by landfill employees trained to identify unacceptable wastes. A specially trained landfill employee will remove and properly store unacceptable wastes. These wastes will be stored in a special area until the wastes are transported to the appropriate disposal facility. The Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works hold free, weekly household hazardous waste collection days to minimize the household hazardous waste that reaches the materials recovery/transfer facilities. Imperial County has drop-off locations for household hazardous waste in Brawley and El Centro and also offers periodic waste collection days.
Desert Tortoise Protection
Prior to constructing the landfill, a significant portion of the landfill site was fenced. A team of biologists surveyed the fenced area for desert tortoises, which are a protected species under the Endangered Species Act. All desert tortoises were relocated outside the fencing to an approved site. All personnel working at the landfill site receive training to avoid interference with desert tortoises. Trained biologists will monitor the adjacent desert habitat and wildlife.