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    $88 million excavation project to prepare more space in Prima Deshecha landfill
    • September 29, 2023

    The $88 million excavation contract the OC Board of Supervisors has approved for the Prima Deshecha Landfill will extend its lifespan by decades, officials said.

    By expanding the landfill’s capacity, the project will help meet the waste disposal needs of south Orange County through 2102, said Tom Koutroulis, director of OC Waste and Recycling. The current zone where waste is being accepted is set to reach capacity in 2050; officials have been preparing the east side of the property for future needs.

    The project, to be led by Sukut Construction, will excavate 7 million cubic yards of dirt and rock and construct a protective liner that will preserve the health of the surrounding watershed, Koutroulis said. Additionally, the project will also install a landfill gas collection and facility drainage control system.

    The construction will take place within 65 acres of the current landfill property in San Juan Capistrano and will provide approximately 12.3 million cubic yards of landfill capacity, according to Koutroulis.

    He said construction is expected to begin in October and be finished around November 2025.

    “These improvements will provide OC Waste and Recycling the opportunity to operate and serve the public more efficiently,” he said.

    Fifth District Supervisor Katrina Foley, who represents part of south Orange County including the landfill, also emphasized “this investment will serve many future generations.”

    At the conclusion of the construction, Koutroulis said some customers could be routed to the new zone for dumping. And, as the current zone in use reaches final capacity, all customers will be routed through tunnels under Avenida La Pata to the newly developed areas.

    Last year, there was a shift of more traffic from the county’s other landfills to the Prima Deshecha facility, where, in March of 2022, construction was approved to redesign the entrance and build new flares that trap methane produced by the landfill. The construction also relocated the energy plant that converts some of the gas into energy – enough to power about 6,000 homes. That work cost about $22.5 million.

    The Prima Deshecha landfill opened in 1976 – the county operates it along with the  Frank R. Bowerman Landfill in Irvine and the Olinda Alpha Landfill in Brea.

    Prima Deshecha currently takes about 70% of its waste from the public and the rest is from commercial. The landfill receives an average of 2,735 tons of solid waste per day and an average of 854 waste hauling vehicles per day, according to Koutroulis.

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    ​ Orange County Register