BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Senate Bill 68 allowed public landfills to accept treated wood for years, but in 2020 Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed that bill, which no longer allows for that to happen.
"The dump does not take it at all," said Rick Keel, talking about treated wood - his business repairs and replaces fences across Bakersfield, a pit stop to the Bena Landfill every week was routine.
" I have to dispose of it and the dump says I can't take it anywhere in Kern County anymore," added Keel.
Kern County public works manager Chuck Magee confirmed Wednesday that the seven county-owned landfills stopped accepting treated wood on January 1, after that veto by Governor Newsom.
"What we're talking about is a new regulation that came into effect that stopped the acceptance of treated wood waste here locally in the county," said Magee.
It also affects public landfills across the state.
When the governor vetoed the bill in September 2020 he issued a statement saying: "SB 68 creates a significant additional mandate for DTSC to perform regular inspections of generators and disposal sites for treated wood waste. The hazardous waste control account (HWCA) currently has a structural deficit and this unfunded new mandate will cost the department millions of dollars to implement, exacerbating this deficit."
Keel says the regulation is shocking as treated wood products are seen nearly everywhere.
"It's in your house, right up here in your roof, on your base plates...now no homeowners, no contractors, no gardeners, no nobody can take it to the dump anymore."
Unless you take the treated wood to the only place in the county that would accept it, Clean Harbors Buttonwillow Landfill Facility.
Which Magee says will come at a cost, let alone a long car ride if you're on the other side of the county.
"A hazardous waste facility is way more expensive than a class 3 landfill. It's going to be significantly more than if you were coming to Bena or one of our facilities," said Magee.
The change has prompted Keel to ask himself a question he'd rather avoid.
"It costs so much now to run a business. Can I keep building fences with all the stuff I pay now?"
In the meantime, Magee is advising people who don't want to pay the extra costs at a private landfill to store the treated wood for a little while longer.
He says that the state is working on some variances to alleviate the matter.