Neal Road Recycling and Waste Facility expands to surrounding parcels

Neal Road Recycling and Waste Facility expands to surrounding parcels

DURHAM — Butte County has purchased three large parcels of property to the north and west of the Neal Road Recycling and Waste Facility.

During a special meeting on Monday, the Butte County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to purchase the property from a single-party owner. The land has no housing and had previously been a placeholder for potential livestock.

The cost of the land comes out to a total of $708,000. Of that sum, $250,000 was paid to the previous landowner, Nance Canyon Partners, L.P. on Tuesday.

This agreement adds 118 acres to the facility, though what will become of the land is still in the earliest stages.

Butte County Public Works Director Joshua Pack said the master planning process for the long-term goal of the additional parcels will likely begin in early 2022. Pack said in more than 50 years of existence, there have been five major expansions to the facility.

A waste hauling truck is parked in front of the landfill on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021 at the Neal Road Recycling and Waste Management Facility in Butte County, California. (Jake Hutchison/Enterprise-Record)

“Based on that right now, between current use and the size of the landfill, we’re expected to reach capacity by 2050,” Pack said. “We’re certainly not at the precipice, but we can see it on the horizon.”

The county has plenty of options for expansion. Pack said the extra land, for now, could just work as a buffer zone for the facility.

“The landfill is a very important part of the county’s operation,” Pack said. “It serves virtually every resident. I think we need to have an honest assessment of what we have now and what we need to do in the future to best serve our residents.”

Pack said the additional land at the north and west of the landfill will offer some flexibility for the county as it determines the best use of it.

“Public Works will be asking the board to adopt a contract to begin the master planning process hopefully in early 2022,” Pack said. “It’s a fairly robust process, and we’re going to want to get input from our partners, the cities, businesses and local haulers.”

The facility resides in Supervisor Tod Kimmelshue’s district. Kimmelshue stressed the importance of expanding the property as a safeguard for the future.

“We will eventually have to expand the facility, not necessarily for more capacity but to make sure we have room for recycling facilities as well as having control over the properties so we can make sure they don’t get contaminated and have neighbors upset with us,” Kimmelshue said.

The landfill will also need to keep up with new recycling technology as it becomes more available. Laws for maintaining landfills in California have also changed throughout the years and will likely continue to shift.

“I just think people need to know that landfills are becoming more and more sophisticated and eventually there will be very little put in landfills as it will be mostly recycled or made into compost,” Kimmelshue said. “When you do those things, you need huge facilities to sort those materials. The bottom line is that it’s quite a science and something we need to make sure we have enough land around the facility to make sure we can facilitate those kinds of expansions.”

The Butte County Board of Supervisors generally meets at 9 a.m. on the second and third Tuesday of the month at its chambers located at 25 County Center Drive, Suite 205 in Oroville. Meetings are free and open to the public. Those who are not fully vaccinated are required to wear a mask while in the building.

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