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Shafter-Wasco Landfill nearing self-sufficient sustainability

Shafter-Wasco Landfill Compost Bagger
Posted at 5:54 PM, Feb 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-01 20:54:15-05
  • On Wednesday, Kern County Public Works and Shafter-Wasco Landfill employees showcased a new piece of equipment, a compost bagger. The bagger will allow Public Works to bag compost they are required to provide to county residents as part of a state initiative, instead of leaving a pile for residents to shovel into buckets or the bed of a truck. Kern County Public Works Manager Chuck Magee said county residents should expect to see bags in their communities by mid-May.
  • Magee said the bagger is just one more piece of the landfill's puzzle to become self-sufficient and sustainable. In previous reporting, we've covered the landfill's ability to sort compostable material, break down hard-to-compost material, and turn it into electricity, and the final step will be the actual composting itself.
  • Magee told 23ABC, that the compost facility project for the Shafter-Wasco Landfill is expected to break ground soon.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

If you have a garden or flower bed at home in this community you’re likely familiar with this pile right here, and earlier this week the Shafter-Wasco Landfill recieved a new piece of equipment that should make your lives a little bit easier.

“Right now if people don’t have a pickup truck, they have a problem being able to get it home, we’ll have pallets of this available. People will be able to come to the corporation yard in the very short future and pick this product up," said Shafter Assistant Public Works Director Kevin Gibson.

Pallets of what though? Bagged Compost.

But why should you care? Looking locally, the compost is free to the public, as part of a state initiative to limit what’s going into landfills that can be reused or recycled. Heck, the stuff that made the compost came off of your property and it’s not just going to be here in Shafter.

“Ridgecrest, Cal City, Tehachapi. All the cities around us are wanting to use the material but getting it to them and getting it in their hands has been a problem,” said Magee.

The easiest way the county figured out how to do it was bagging it. But this is just one step in Magee’s plan.

Over the last several weeks, we’ve talked about the county’s proposed plan for a compost facility to make it in-house, their ability to sort the material coming in and break down the material to make it easier to compost, while also making electricity to power the equipment. Which seems like a lot of money upfront, but as Magee proposed in the midst of last year it’s going to save the county money in just a few short years.

“All in all, the economics show that by building this and getting it under operation, in 2.2 years it will have paid for itself and then it will save the taxpayers about 5 million dollars a year.”

And in Magee’s mind, they’re doing something special at the landfill.

“We have done something, that I don’t know if anybody else has done. Tell you the truth. I have never seen this exact set up anywhere. Where it’s all done in one place and it’s self-sustaining.”

Talking with Magee, he says one of the final pieces of this plan, that being building the compost facility should break ground in the coming weeks, and as far as the bagged compost? You should start seeing it in communities around Kern County starting in May of this year.


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