Colma landfill shuts its gates

The Colma landfill has been closed up like a garbage sack, after disagreements over recycling permits brought talks between the owner and the town to a standstill.

The Cypress Amloc Land Company, Inc., which operates the Hillside Landfill, tucked below the Cypress Golf Course, closed its gates Friday, threatening in a flier that says if the town didn’t change its position on recycling permits by Thursday, “the economic realities … will result in the landfill shutting down permanently.”

Colma residents will not be affected by such a closure, town planner Andrea Ouse said, but it will inconvenience contractors, landscapers and cemeteries that use the landfillfor disposing construction debris and green waste materials, such as lawn clippings.

The closure will also not cost the city a dime, Ouse added.

At issue is the recycling of materials brought to the landfill. Current town permits do not allow a recycling facility or transfer station at the site, making it non-compliant, Ouse said.

“This was a nonpermitted use, but the town was willing to consider it as a use as promised,” Ouse said.

But after five years of trying to obtain the necessary information to evaluate a change in operations and permitted uses at the site, the town began considering fines against Cypress Amloc for being noncompliant with a 1994 business agreement, Ouse said.

The deadline for the town to receive necessary information from the dump was Thursday, Ouse said, and the landfill closed its doors to business the next day.

In the flier provided to The Examiner by landfill General Manager Jeff Terry, Cypress Amloc cited statewide and local recycling goals that the dump helps the town meet.

“Despite overwhelming public sentiment and the laws mentioned above, Town staff is taking the position, among other things, that [Cypress Amloc’s] operating agreement with the town does not allow the landfill to recycle material,” the flier read.

Ouse said the flier was “slandering the town,” adding that Colma waited five years before threatening fines because they “want to work with [Cypress] to get into compliance.”

“It was getting increasingly obvious that they were stalling the town,” Ouse said.

In 2004, the San Bruno Mountain Watch citizens group threatened to sue the landfill for violating the Clean Water Act.

dsmith@examiner.com

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