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Independent Voice

"Secure Disposal" Approved, Appealed for Schroeder Road

Dec 29, 2021 12:00AM ● By By Debra Dingman

DIXON, CA (MPG) - Solano County Department of Resource Management recently held a public hearing by the Zoning Administrator to consider a use permit revision from an agricultural zone to a zone that allows toxic waste with plans to establish a site at 8028 Schroeder Road in Dixon. It was approved.

Solano County Planning Services Division meets twice per month, and they moved their meeting scheduled for Dec. 23 to December 16 to avoid a conflict with holiday plans and all were notified of the meeting date one week prior. There were 10 people at the public meeting in Fairfield, according to local citizen Jim Schneider who lives on Reddick Road near Schroeder Road.

“They wanted to ram it through, and it seems like short notice plus it being over the holiday, that they would get the change in land use approved,” said Schneider who has filed an appeal with the County this week. “The public needs to be informed. It was pretty disheartening. They basically blew us off,” he said. EQ Industrial Services, a hazardous waste disposal company wants an exemption to Ag zoning to an Industrial zone.

“The words ‘hazardous waste’ were never mentioned in the notice,” Schneider said. Upon checking with the county, originally the county used “waste, disposal” terms but they have only so many terms to choose from off their list.

The property owner, Sandy Betschart, reached out to all of the nearby residents and property owners and invited them to a meeting at the subject property that was held on Tuesday, Dec. 14, where a US Ecology representative described the business in detail and answered questions from neighbors and all interested parties.

“This meeting was held by the property owner to make sure everyone had time to learn about the business before the formal meeting and then gather their thoughts that could be presented at the public meeting on the 16th,” said Terry Geis, Senior Vice President of the West Region for US Ecology that acquired EQ Industrial Services in 2014, creating a leading North American environmental and industrial services provider. “It is my understanding that every concerned citizen had the chance to participate in either [of those meetings] and realized they were not going to be a bad neighbor,” said Geis.

EQ Industrial Services, Inc. has a nationwide network of Treatment and Disposal facilities that the company says, “offers safe, simple, and cost-effective solutions for all waste streams.”

It is an industry that is necessary due to the strict California laws to dispose of potentially harmful products legally and properly. And, it costs a large amount because of it being a specialized service. Companies pay huge fines for even a small infraction and that is why the cottage industry has boomed. State Attorney General Rob Bonta just announced a major lawsuit against Walmart for this very thing.

Items such as batteries, fluorescent lights, cosmetics, and even pharmaceuticals that have expired, returned, or are damaged for whatever reason cannot be just thrown in a garbage. The State of California laws for disposing are detailed and specific.

The Schroeder Road facility will be a basic sort and transfer station where nothing can be stored for more than 10 days per law. It is not a landfill. The property was chosen because the company’s location in West Sacramento, which was just equipment storage for emergency response work, was sold and they already contracted with Solano County for emergency response work. At this site they will combine their equipment storage with the field services group (sorting) at the same location.

“It’s not as big of an operation as one might think. There will be 10 to 12 employees. We’ll have 6 or 7 retail technicians who go visit retailers and pick up 5-gallon to 55-gallon drums. They leave on a Monday and take a route through the Bay area and come back on a Friday. Everything they’ve collected goes into a box truck and will be loaded into larger trailers that goes to Nevada,” explained Geis. “So, what we are doing is ‘secure disposal’ even though a lot of it is not toxic.”

Previously on this 8-acre section of the 26-acre parcel, there was a transportation facility so it was not used for an orchard or crops. There was previously stored pesticides and herbicides with trucks going in and out seven days a week.

“We are less hazardous and less noisy,” said Geis. “The county has done everything they can to be transparent and we’re more than happy with their services. It doesn’t benefit anyone to ‘shove something through.’ It went to a hearing and it was approved by the county. If there is going to be an appeal and the county decides we don’t fit, we won’t pursue it,” he said.