LA County Sanitation Districts, Inland Empire utility get top EPA award for Rancho Cucamonga composting plant

The Pasadena Star News, March 25, 2014
Two agencies working across county lines to transform sewage waste and green waste into a marketable product were awarded the “environmental champion” award Monday from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts, based in north Whittier, and the Inland Empire Utilities Agency, a Chino-based municipal water agency, received recognition for a joint recycling project that has recycled more than 1 million tons of green waste and biosolids and produced more than 1 million cubic yards of compost since 2007, according to the EPA’s Pacific Southwest Division.

Under the Inland Empire Regional Composting Authority, the two agencies set up a recycling plant in Rancho Cucamonga near the Fontana border that took in leftover waste from waste-water recycling in Los Angeles County and food, yard waste and wood waste from the Inland Empire.

The plant produces a “commercially-valuable compost material,” according to the EPA.

All recycling is done under strict air quality regulations. The IERCA has been able to capture ammonia and volatile organic compound emissions before they are released into the air and form smog, according to the EPA. These emissions also make up particulates or PM-10, a more recent form of air pollution
found to cause heart disease and premature deaths.

“The Inland Empire Regional Composting Authority is honored to receive the EPA Environmental Award for its landmark composting project in Southern California,” said Jon Blickenstaff, a former La Verne mayor and the current IERCA board chairman.

The award was handed out at the Solid Waste Association of North America’s Zero Waste Conference in Monterey.

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