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In response to the ever growing ban on land applications of biosolids within the Western United States and in particular the State of California, four agencies and districts have joined in a cooperative effort to investigate regional opportunities and solutions for reuse of their biosolids. A Joint Powers Authority (JPA) called the Inland Empire Regional Composting Authority (IERCA) was previously formed between two of the agencies, the Inland Empire Utilities Agency (IEUA) and the Los Angeles County Sanitation District (LACSD), to construct a joint regional compost manufacturing facility using municipal biosolids and green waste. This regional plant is now being commissioned in the initial start up period. Full operation is planned for the fall of 2007.

Two additional agencies have joined with the IERCA in a separate “partnership” seeking similar success by investigating additional biosolids management projects together. In addition to the IERCA members Western Municipal Water District in Riverside County (WMWD) and the Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD) complete the partnership. The goal of the partnership is to build on a the existing success of the IERCA in combining the larger geographical area, spheres of influence, technical, economical and political resources, to find common solutions for biosolids management? handling and reuse. The current four partners bring influence and resources from four contiguous counties in Southern California.

The initial JPA is indeed a success story; the completed composting plant is in the City of Rancho Cucamonga, California (San Bernardino County). It will process approximately 150,000 wet tons per year (WTPY) of biosolids along with 60,000 tons per year of organic solids diverted from landfill disposal. The new partnership is investigating three additional sites in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties that could provide additional biosolids processing capacity exceeding 350,000 WTPY. The act of partnership is in itself a success by transferring and pooling knowledge and information, resources and data from all of the member agencies.

This cooperation will likely result in one or more additional regional facilities with all benefiting. The development of partnerships between multiple agencies and districts which focuses on solving common problems can be a model of cooperation to find regional solutions to maximize resources while minimizing duplication of effort. Application of this model of cooperation and teamwork among various agencies, districts, and cities facing common problems should be applicable in many areas throughout the United States.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2007-01-01

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