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June 27, 2022

Letter: Don’t Dump on San Benito County

Get to know “Don’t Dump on San Benito!” Friends and neighbors of San Benito County started a grassroots organization called “Don’t Dump on San Benito” when we learned about the proposed John Smith Road Landfill (JSRL) expansion. 

Waste Connections, the landfill operator, is proposing a landfill expansion of five times the current size to 483 Acres. Daily trash will be allowed to increase from 1,000 tons up to 2,300 tons. 

Currently, 80% of the daily trash arrives from five out-of-county locations (Fresno, Alameda, Monterey, Santa Cruz and Santa Clara County). With the proposed increase, there could be up to 91% of the waste coming from outside of San Benito County. Our group said …SAY WHAT??? 

Why does San Benito County need a landfill bigger than the landfills in Santa Clara and Monterey counties when our population is only roughly 64,000? Over the summer of 2021, as we learned more about the landfill expansion proposal through the Notice of Preparation (NOP), we started knocking on residents’ doors and realized that the majority of the county residents were unaware of the landfill expansion and the quantity of out-of-county trash coming into our local landfill. We passed out thousands of informational flyers in parking lots of Safeway, Target, Nob Hill and walked door to door in residential areas. 

The majority of the response from the residents was disbelief, shock, outrage and frustration over the amount of out-of-county garbage being dumped on the residents of San Benito County’s landfill. Residents also complained about the number and frequency of the large dump trucks on our local roads driving seven days a week as early as 7am. 

We also discovered that local San Benito County residents are charged $57 per ton while the out-of-county haulers are charged $30 per ton and consume over 80% of the current landfill space. 

We ask our San Benito County Board of Supervisors…Who is your customer? Is it not the residents of San Benito County? The John Smith Road Landfill is owned by the County of San Benito, therefore the people of San Benito County are the owners of the landfill. Again, this is why Don’t Dump on San Benito continues to educate the local community by passing out flyers and providing yard signs with great community support. 

Why do we have to put up with all of the out-of-county trash trucks damaging our roads and putting diesel fuel emissions into the air? 

Don’t Dump on San Benito and the Board of Supervisors are waiting for the release of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) within the next 30-90 days. By law, Waste Connections must have the EIR written for the proposed expansion with multiple alternatives including a “NO PROJECT ALTERNATIVE.” The following partial list of impacts of the proposed expansion will be disclosed in the EIR: Public Health and Safety; Air Quality / Air Pollution; Geology; Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change (methane gas); Hydrology & Water Quality (leachate (garbage juice) creating groundwater contamination); Traffic; Noise; Hazards and Hazardous Materials.

Our county is currently known as the Gateway to the Pinnacles with abundant open space, wine trails, organic farming, hiking and biking trails and beautiful vistas. Do the people of San Benito County want to take the risk of being known as the GARBAGE DUMP FOR FIVE SURROUNDING COUNTIES? We have the opportunity today to protect and preserve our resources for our generation, our children’s generation and all future generations. What we do today will live on into the future for the good, the bad, and ugly. It is up to the citizens of San Benito County to CHOOSE their future path. Don’t let others choose the path for you! 

What Can You Do? Get informed, ask questions, get involved. Join other San Benito County Residents by supporting and joining Check out the San Benito County Website: John Smith Landfill Expansion o

Maureen Nelson


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