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Solid Waste Local Enforcement Agency (LEA)

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Mission Statement

To protect public health, safety and the environment by ensuring safe and proper solid waste management practices through the enforcement of federal, state, and local laws and regulations within the jurisdiction of the City of San Diego.

Overview of LEA

photo of landfill

State law (Public Resources Code) requires that every local jurisdiction designate a solid waste Local Enforcement Agency (LEA) that is certified by the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle)* to enforce federal and state laws and regulations for the safe and proper handling of solid waste.
*formerly known as the California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB)

Solid waste includes household trash and garbage, construction debris, commercial refuse, sludge, ash, discarded appliances and vehicles, manure, landscape clippings, and other discarded wastes. A city can become their own LEA if they have an active facility within their jurisdiction; a city can designate the county as their LEA; or CalRecycle may act as the enforcement agency.

photo of landfill

Before 1997, the City contracted with the County Department of Environmental Health to provide LEA services. On July 29, 1997, the City Council passed a resolution withdrawing designation of the County and authorized the City Manager to seek State certification as the LEA for the City. Consequently, on November 19, 1997, the City of San Diego, Development Services Department was issued temporary certification by CalRecycle. Upon completion of specific requirements CalRecycle granted full certification status to the LEA on August 26, 1999.

photo of solid waste

The City of San Diego disposes of more than 1.9 million tons of solid waste (trash) annually. To ensure regulatory compliance, the LEA administers a permitting and inspection program that oversees more than 60 solid waste sites and operations within the City. These include two active landfills (Sycamore and West Miramar), nine waste transfer facilities, five composting facilities, two permitted waste tire facilities, twenty-one permitted refuse haulers with 520 refuse collection trucks and eleven locations within the City, and over 29 closed, inactive, or abandoned disposal sites.

photo of LEA monitor

The LEA also investigates complaints of illegal disposal of solid waste and evaluates historic waste disposal sites (including old trash burn dumps) to address potential public health, safety, and environmental concerns.

Staff of the LEA currently consists of a Program Manager, two Solid Waste Inspector III, one Solid Waste Inspector Trainee, one Clerical Assistant II, one Associate Management Analyst (part-time), and one Management Intern (part-time).