The latest plan for expanding the Fink Road landfill, a contentious issue in years past, envisions the mountain of garbage going up instead of out.
Piling refuse higher could buy the dump 15 years of extra life, and a larger bulge might blend in better with neighboring hills, according to a report going before Stanislaus County leaders this morning.
At current rates, the 219-acre landfill would max out at 385 feet above sea level in 13 years. Growing to 545 feet would extend capacity 14 or 15 years, the report says.
The plan envisions no change in type or quantity of waste. Public outcry stopped a proposal to import medical waste in 2001 and the idea of a megadump on 1,000 acres in 2002.
County supervisors today will consider issuing an environmental negative declaration, meaning the expansion would not significantly affect the landfill's surroundings.
That document is much less comprehensive -- and less expensive -- than an environmental impact report often required for major projects. The document promises surveys on protected or endangered wildlife common to the hills, such as burrowing owls and the San Joaquin kit fox.
The landfill started in 1973 on 18 acres in the Diablo Range west of Crows Landing.
Ash from the garbage-burning plant next door is buried in an area separate from general refuse, and the ash side can go 30 years or more without expanding.
On the Web: www.stancounty.com/bos/agenda/currentagenda.pdf.
Bee staff writer Garth Stapley can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2390.