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Solid Waste Local Enforcement Agency

About LEA

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 clipping, and other discarded wastes. A city can become its own LEA if it has an active facility within its jurisdiction; a city can designate the county as its LEA; or CalRecycle may act as the enforcement agency.

photo of landfill

Before 1997, the City of San Diego 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 Nov. 19, 1997, the City of San Diego's Development Services Department was issued temporary certification by CalRecycle. Upon completion of specific requirements, CalRecycle granted full certification status to the LEA on Aug. 26, 1999.

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), one inert debris engineered fill operation, seven waste transfer facilities, five composting facilities, one permitted waste tire facility, 21 permitted refuse haulers with 520 refuse collection trucks and 13 locations within the City, 6 certified recycle haulers with 18 collection trucks and 2 locations within the City, and over 31 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 an Assistant Deputy Director, a Program Manager, two Solid Waste Inspector IIIs, one Solid Waste Inspector II, and one Senior Management Analyst (part-time).