The future of one of the largest landfills in the United States is in the hands of County staff and local residents.
Officially closed on October 31st, 2013, the Puente Hills Landfill, located just south of the 60 freeway near Hacienda Heights on the south side of the San Gabriel Valley, has sat largely untouched over the past two years. Gone are the garbage trucks that carried an average of 7,500 tons of household waste, per day, to the landfill. As LA County seeks to divert 80% of its waste from landfills by 2025, half of what used to go to Puente Hills is now sent to Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) opening up across the state, while the other half still ends up in landfills, just outside of LA County in cities such as Victorville, Rialto, Corona, and Redlands.
But what to do with the mountain of trash that has been left behind?
One future use that has already been confirmed is power generation. As the trash settles and biodegradables decompose, the methane gas created is being captured to make electricity, approximately 50 megawatts a day, enough to power approximately 70,000 homes.
Over the next decade this process is expected to shift and settle the land atop the 630-acre formal landfill dozens of feet, making the construction of sports fields, permanent structures, and similar uses unfeasible at this time. The question remains what uses shall be put in place in the interim.
Among the options currently being studied are multi-use trails, recreational facilities, open space, habitat restoration, and wildlife corridors connecting existing canyons and natural areas in the Puente-Chino Hills.
Development of the landfill is expected to take place in stages, with the first area to open a portion of the Western Deck (40 acres), one of the oldest - and most stable - parts of the former landfill. Although officials expect it to settle another 10 feet in the coming decades, this section has a projected development timeline of years rather than decades.
LA County's First Bike Park?
While LA County has yet to do so, communities across the state of California have developed "bike parks" in recent years to provide dedicated space for two-wheeled enthusiasts of all ages to hone their skills and recreate in a safe space. The parks range from low-cost, volunteer- and community-driven affairs to intricately planned and state-of-the-art parks. They also can include a wide variety of elements, including dirt pump tracks, dual slalom tracks, natural elements such as logs, balance beams, and technical wooden trail features, and cyclocross-specific trails and obstacles.
Given the unsettled nature of the landfill site, with land expected to drop dozens of feet in areas, a bike park with natural features, dirt mounds, and trails would be an excellent short-, medium- and long-term use for part of the former landfill. It is also one that could easily be integrated with other passive features such as picnic areas, walking paths, and open space.
Assorted Bike Parks - CA
Plans for the new park are scheduled to be drafted and finalized at two public meetings in September and November. We strongly encourage interested members of the public to attend these meetings and provide input directly to the landscape architects and County parks officials. If you're unable to attend a meeting, comments may also be emailed to LA County Parks staffer Michelle O'Connor.
Wednesday September 30 (6:30-8:30pm)
PRESENTATION OF ALTERNATIVE PARK CONCEPTS
Hacienda Heights Community Center
1234 Valencia Ave.
Hacienda Heights, CA 91745
Tuesday November 3 (6:30-8:30pm)
PRESENTATION OF FINAL DRAFT PARK CONCEPT AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT (EIR) SCOPING SESSION
Wallen L. Andrews Elementary School
1010 S Caraway Dr.
Whittier, CA 90601
Wednesday January 27 (6:30-8:30pm)
PRESENTATION OF FINAL PARK CONCEPT
Don Julian Elementary School
13855 Don Julian Rd.
La Puente, CA 91746
More info: www.puentehillslandfillpark.org