Local News

Wednesday, Jan 29 2014 06:00 AM

Golden Hills to review environmental impact of trash decision

When the Golden Hills Community Services District chose a hauler to begin trash collection on its behalf, an environmental review of the district's decision had not taken place.

Since then, the district engaged Provost & Pritchard Consulting Group, a Visalia-based firm, to conduct a review and in a special meeting set for 6 p.m. on Feb. 5, directors will hold a public hearing on their Notice of Intent to Adopt a Mitigated Negative Declaration of environmental impact related to what it calls a "waste recycling and pick-up project."

Under the California Environmental Quality Act, a "mitigated negative declaration" is basically a statement that the district has found some environmental impact, but that it can be "mitigated" to the degree that it will be as if there were no environmental impact.

A 269-page report detailing the environmental review was released by the district on Jan. 15.

According to Emily Bowen of Provost & Pritchard, it is a draft and likely will include errors.

Among those are that one section of the report states that Cultural Resources and Air Quality are environmental factors potentially affected by the project while another section of the report lists Biological Resources as affected.

Bowen confirmed this error and said that it is Cultural Resources and Air Quality that were found to have impacts which can be mitigated.

The impacts are largely related to the potential disturbance of earth in creating space for the trash contractor to work.

Other factors examined included aesthetics, greenhouse gas emissions and water quality.

Benz Sanitation of Tehachapi currently has a contract for solid waste collection and recycling in the Golden Hills area with Kern County. Golden Hills, desiring lower costs for its residents and a percentage of the revenue, gave Benz a five-year notice in 2013 that it was going to contract for the services.

Benz elected not to bid on the Golden Hills contract and can continue to service accounts in the area, which means that two trash trucks may be driving through neighborhoods, one of the issues discussed in the environmental review.

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