LA Sanitation Districts Permitted to Use Rail Service

On June 26, the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County (Sanitation Districts) received a conditional use permit for the Puente Hills Intermodal Facility (PHIMF) from the city of Industry Planning Commission, a press release said.

This approval paves the way for the Sanitation Districts to move forward with a key component of a Waste-by-Rail System to serve Los Angeles County. The city of Industry certified the Final Environmental Impact Report for the PHIMF earlier in June, after the Draft EIR was circulated for a 60-day public review and all the comments were responded to in the Final EIR.

When operational in 2011/2012, the PHIMF will receive rail-ready, sealed shipping containers filled with non-hazardous municipal solid waste. At the PHIMF, the shipping containers will be loaded onto rail cars for transport to the Mesquite Regional Landfill in Imperial County. The facility will have the capacity to handle up to two trains per day, or approximately 8,000 tons per day of containerized refuse.

To minimize air emissions and conserve fuel, the facility will use a fleet of liquefied natural gas (LNG) hostler trucks and advanced locomotive technology. LNG hostlers will move containers between the nearby Puente Hills Materials Recovery Facility (PHMRF) and the PHIMF on a dedicated, non-public roadway. This dedicated access will minimize traffic impacts to local streets. The Sanitation Districts will install noise mitigation features at two residential neighborhoods adjacent to the existing railroad tracks. Once operational, a 24-hour hotline will provide local residents an avenue to inquire about operating conditions at the PHIMF.

"The Puente Hills Intermodal Facility will complete the in-county infrastructure required for a Waste-by-Rail system, which will ensure 100 years of disposal capacity for Los Angeles County," indicated Steve Maguin, chief engineer and general manager for the Sanitation Districts.

Final design for the PHIMF will be completed by the end of the year. Construction of the PHIMF will begin in 2009 and take approximately three years to complete. Other components of the Waste-by-Rail system include local materials recovery facilities and remote landfills. The Sanitation Districts have designed and constructed the Puente Hills Materials Recovery Facility, which has been operational since July 2005. Construction of a remote landfill in Imperial County, the Mesquite Regional Landfill, began in 2006 and will be operational in 2009.

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