Closed Landfill Management

Inactive waste Cactus Park

DPW Closed Landfill Management Unit manages the County's closed landfills and former refuse burning sites (burn sites). Although these sites no longer accept municipal solid waste (trash), continued monitoring and maintenance is required to minimize impacts to the environment and to protect public health and safety. To that end, the County regularly monitors landfill gas generation and migration, groundwater quality, and stormwater runoff quality. The County also maintains various systems at the sites to control landfill gas emissions, mitigate impacts to groundwater, and to manage the flow and discharge of storm water. On most of the sites, vegetation is used to control surface erosion. All of these activities are funded through the Solid Waste Environmental Trust Fund. The Board of Supervisors established this fund using a portion of the sale proceeds following the successful divestiture of the County Solid Waste System in 1997.

Flowers on inactive landfillThe Closed Landfill Management Unit works closely with local, state, and federal regulators to maintain the sites in accordance with established laws and regulations. These regulatory agencies include the County of San Diego Solid Waste Local Enforcement Agency(LEA), the California Department of Resources, Recycling, and Recovery (CalRecycle), the Regional Water Quality Control Board and the Air Pollution Control District.

In recent years, the Closed Landfill Management Unit has evaluated secondary uses for the closed sites. Today, some of the County’s former landfills and burn sites are experiencing new life as sites for a variety of commercial developments such as recycling facilities and automobile dealerships, as well as for recreational uses such as model aircraft airports. Bird on pipe standAlso, electricity is produced at a site using the methane gas that is naturally produced by decomposition of the waste in the landfill. This represents a win-win situation for the County and the environment. When considering a new use, the Closed Landfill Management Unit works to ensure that it is compatible with the overriding environmental laws and regulations and that compliance can be maintained.

Palomar Closed Landfill Work

If you have further questions regarding the County’s Closed Landfill Management Unit, please refer to a list of FAQ's and for any other question please contact Craig Burnett at or call (619) 346-3723.

For information regarding active (open) landfills within the County, please contact Republic Services at or the City of San Diego at

For information on where to donate, recycle, or properly dispose of unwanted or unused items visit or call the County of San Diego Recycling & Household Hazardous Waste Hotline at 1-877-R-1-EARTH


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