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San Gabriel Valley Digest

San Gabriel Valley : Trash-by-Rail Offer Made

May 07, 1987

The Southern California Assn. of Governments (SCAG) has offered to study the feasibility of hauling trash by rail from the San Gabriel Valley to remote desert disposal sites.

The regional planning agency would undertake the study for the solid waste management task force of the San Gabriel Valley Assn. of Cities for $105,000, not counting $30,000 that SCAG would contribute.

West Covina Councilwoman Nancy Manners, who heads the task force subcommittee on trash disposal by rail, recommended last week that the task force accept SCAG's offer and ask the state Waste Management Board to help pay for the study. Manners said the Waste Management Board has informally agreed to contribute money but has not specified an amount.

Walnut Mayor Harvey Holden, task force chairman, said the group hopes to obtain a commitment from the Waste Management Board before the next task force meeting June 18 and then will ask its 28 member cities to share the remaining cost.

Holden said many people originally thought that exporting trash by rail was farfetched because of the cost and the difficulty of finding a place willing to accept the trash. But he cited some encouraging developments, including the willingness of Blythe to accept trash if the project would help its own economy and not harm the environment.

Holden said, "At the start we looked at (trash export by rail) as a vague possibility, but we are rapidly coming to the conclusion that this is a viable alternative." The trash could be hauled to a landfill, incinerator, recycling plant or some combination of those.

The proposed study would look at potential disposal sites, costs of rail transportation, environmental impact and public opinion.

Gill V. Hicks, principal planner with SCAG, said the study would take about nine months.

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