Stronger Together.

AEL Updates

Public Odor Workshop – Homes in the Landfill Odor Zone

Friends of AEL:

This is an Invitation to attend the Placer County Waste Management Authority’s (WPWMA) 10th Annual Odor Workshop on Tuesday, October 20th at 6 pm via Zoom. (Instructions below).

Background: Our landfill, governed by the Western Placer Waste Management Authority (WPWMA), receives waste from across the County; sorts it, recycles and repurposes what it can; and buries the rest. The vast site generates odors. Despite the best efforts of our landfill operator, garbage stinks.

Depending on wind and wind direction, WPWMA receives complaints (complaint map below ) from people and businesses who live distant from the landfill. Until December of this past year, the landfill was isolated from human populations by a 1.5 mile wide “smell buffer”, designed to preserve the landfill resource and protect people from the airborne gasses and particulates that are intermittently stink-y, potentially pose threats to health and may be carcinogenic.

A property developer acquired the “smell buffer zone” and applied to the County to build a new city in it – promising a University too. In response, the County of Placer began a process to rezone the primarily agriculturally zoned “smell buffer” land for new land uses – homes, schools, businesses and the “University”. The developer’s “promise” of a California State University was a key driver of the the Placer County Board of Supervisors decision to reduce the landfill buffer from almost 9,000 feet to 500 feet and fill the “buffer” space with new zoning to accomodate a new city of almost 6000 homes. In January, 2020 the Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit claiming that the EIR on the SAP/PR was inadequate and the economic justification was unsupported. In July of this year, California State University completed a study that found no need for any new CSU campuses and a Placer Campus had never been under consideration. Despite these setbacks, our County Supervisors appear willing to proceed with the new city in the smell buffer – even acting as project applicant, and incurring all costs for the private developer.

Potential Questions for WPWMA:

As people distant from the landfill are complaining of odor already, is it wise to build homes and bring families and workplaces in closer proximity to the landfill?
Is WPWMA a willing participant in the County’s march to develop in the “smell buffer”.
Has WPWMA committed to implement smell-remediation measures under an agreement with the County and Placer Ranch, Ltd., developer?
Have $19 million in taxpayer dollars been committed for odor remediation to enable development in the “smell buffer zone”? Is this a WPWMA budgeted line item?
Will the $19m cost be borne by the County’s General Fund or via tipping fees/collection rate increases?
How was the $19m cost estimate determined?
Is there a proven technology to eliminate odor from the landfill?
What is the amount of odor reduction that is anticipated? Will odor persist after the odor remediation technology is installed?
Will issues of airborne particulates which my be health hazards persist after the odor technology is installed?
Will bringing families, schools and businesses so near to landfull jeopardize landfill operations which generate noise in addition to odor?

Many of you have technical expertise in the waste and waste management industry, Thank you for bringing questions forward and exercising your civil right to meaningfully participate in governmental processes.

Together we’re a stronger voice.


Leslie Warren, Chair
Alliance for Environmental Leadership

Event Details

The Western Placer Waste Management Authority (WPWMA) invites you to tune in for a special virtual Odor Workshop at 6:00 PM on Tuesday, October 20th  to discuss odors and other operational issues of importance to local residents.

Please RSVP at our website or by clicking here.

Attend via webcam or telephone (toll-free):


Telephone: (888) 788-0099 or (877) 853-5247

Meeting ID: 961 1282 2253

Leslie Warren is Chair of the Alliance for Environmental Leadership, a 16 organization-strong environmental collaboration.

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