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City Council Talks Trash

Gets Update on Resources Recovery Project at the Tajiguas Landfill

The Santa Barbara City Council received an update Tuesday on its joint venture with the county to create a Resources Recovery Project at the Tajiguas Landfill on the Gaviota Coast. The project would include a materials-recovery facility (MRF) ​— ​to sort trash into recyclables, residual waste, and organics like food and green waste ​— ​and an anaerobic-digestion (AD) facility that would convert the organics into compost and capture the methane for electricity.

Since the council’s last meeting on the issue ​— ​which also involves the cities of Goleta, Buellton, and Solvang ​— ​MarBorg Industries has applied to own and operate the MRF at its downtown location. Mustang Renewable Power Ventures, the project’s development team, has suggested MarBorg operate the MRF at Tajiguas. The project’s environmental impact report, to be released in the first few months of 2014, will determine whether the MRF is best suited for county land or the MarBorg property. A consulting firm is also evaluating both proposals to compare their costs; the council will get those results in a couple of months. Under both proposals, Mustang will be responsible for determining the operator of the AD, which will be located at Tajiguas.

The council also heard about two different ways to define the roles of each of the participating jurisdictions, with city staff recommending a Joint Powers Agreement over a Joint Powers Authority. The agreement would be a written document agreed upon, signed, and executed by the city and county, while the authority would create a new governing body. The project has crossed four of the 10 necessary hurdles to getting built.

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