Final permission to construct the controversial Eagle Mountain Landfill in the desert about 75 miles east of Palm Springs was granted Wednesday by the California Integrated Waste Management Board in Sacramento, the last of about 20 regulatory agencies to approve the project.
The landfill owner said that the site will be ready to accept trash by the end of 2001 and that attention will now turn to lining up government and commercial collectors who need places to dump refuse.
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday December 18, 1999 Home Edition Part A Page 4 Foreign Desk 2 inches; 36 words Type of Material: Correction
Eagle Mountain Landfill--A story Thursday on the state's approval of the Eagle Mountain Landfill east of Palm Springs erred in stating the amount of garbage it can accommodate. The landfill will be able to accept 20,000 tons of trash a day when fully developed.
Among the prospective customers is the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts, which dumps trash in landfills in urban Southern California.
The Eagle Mountain facility, expected to cost $115 million, will be in an abandoned open pit formerly mined for iron by Kaiser Steel. Its owner, Mine Reclamation Corp., says the landfill is large enough to accommodate 20,000 tons of trash annually for 50 years, delivered in enclosed containers hauled by trains.
Planning for the landfill began in 1989. The project was endorsed by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors but was stalled for years by various lawsuits claiming that it would damage the fragile desert habitat and pollute the adjacent Joshua Tree National Park.
"We had many dark days, and I thought this day would have come four years ago," said Rick Daniels, company president. "We are elated by this approval."
Eagle Mountain is the second huge desert landfill to be fully approved for business.
The Mesquite Regional Landfill, near Brawley in Imperial County, was approved more than two years ago, and its owners are also looking for customers.
About 70,000 tons of trash is deposited in Southern California landfills daily.