Our Community

THREE DECADES OF COMMUNITY SUPPORT

For more than 32 years, the Waste Management Kettleman Hills Facility (KHF) has been an integral part of the Kings County economy and has supported valuable community projects in both Kettleman City and neighboring communities.  The KHF team is committed to the safe disposal of California’s  hazardous wastes, and has a long-standing history of providing substantial funding and in-kind support for public health, environmental, educational and social service projects in Kettleman City.   
While operating at normal capacity, the KHF provides:

  • $17.5 million each year to the local economy through payroll and purchases of goods and services from local businesses.
  • Approximately $3 million per year directly to the Kings County General Fund.
  • More than $150,000 per year in cash and in-kind support to the Kettleman City community.

Following is a brief summary of important services and support we provide to the community

Environmental & Community Clean Up Projects

Household Hazardous Waste Collection and Disposal
-  We provide free HHW collection and disposal for residents, in coordination with the Kings Waste & Recycling Authority.
Solid Waste Collection and Disposal 
 - We provide free solid waste collection and disposal of bulky oversized waste for residents, in coordination with the Kettleman Community Services District.
Waste Water Plant
- Staff from the KHF rebuilt two existing sludge-drying beds and constructed four new ones for the Kettleman City Community Services District. KHF team members utilized the facility’s earthmoving equipment to construct the earthen drying beds saving the District significant construction costs. We also provided free loading, transportation and disposal of 500 tons of residual biosolids.  
Community Clean Up Projects
- Clean up of a community dump site located north of town, including roll off containers, loading, transporting, and disposal of all waste.
- The demolition, transportation, and disposal of materials resulting from a fire at the home of a community resident.
- Clean up of a community dump site in the business district, including roll off containers, loading, transportation, and disposal of illegally dumped greenwaste near the Best Western Motel.
- The cleanup of years of accumulated litter at the area between Taco Bell and In-N-Out Burger.
Kettleman City Community Services District
- Kettleman City was having problems with illegal dumping and the Community Services District needed a solution. Waste Management helped clean up the town in areas where illegal dumping was occurring, and established a free trash bin service to the community to minimize the problems. The bins are located outside the Community Services District’s offices and maintained by our staff.
- Kettleman City was in need of real property, adjacent to the California Aqueduct, to locate the new water treatment plant.  KHF used its relationship with a local landowner and customer of the facility to facilitate the sale of the property to the KCCSD.
On-going Maintenance and Clean Up of the Kettleman City Park
- The Kettleman City Community Park is the unofficial center of town where children play and residents gather for a variety of recreational activities. To help keep the park attractive and clean, WM staff helps maintain it by trimming trees, removing dead trees, painting the bathrooms and picnic tables, and cleaning the sand and dirt build-up along the curb of the park. The KHF team members also volunteer their time to mow the grass, whenever requested.
Adopt -A- Highway Program
- Three times a year, the KHF team members clean up a one-mile stretch along Highway 41 under the State of California Adopt-A-Highway program.  In 2011, Waste Management worked together with two local youth groups that helped with the Adopt-A-Highway clean up, while also celebrating Earth Day.

Public Health Assistance

Preconception Health Education Program
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In 2010, the Kings County Public Health Department and Waste Management joined forces to develop a special preconception health education program.  Under the agreement with the County, WM funds health education activities, including the dissemination of bilingual educational materials to the medical community, schools and women of childbearing age.  Outreach includes written health information, oral presentations, health fairs, one-on-one interaction, and the use of other media venues.  The Public Health Department also collaborates with medical community partners where they have developed a countywide preconception health guide to encourage health care providers to incorporate preconception health into their day-to-day practice and developed a curriculum on preconception health for use by teachers, school nurses and parents.  WM has agreed to provide $158,400 for the first two years of the preconception pilot program.
Healthy Lunches for Kettleman City Seniors
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 Every three months, the Waste Management Kettleman Hills Facility staff sponsor a senior lunch.  Our staff volunteers serve food and interact with the seniors by playing bingo and other games, while also providing information about our facility.
Foodlink “Nutrition on the Go”
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 Each month, Kettleman City hosts a food giveaway, lead by the Golden State YMCA.  More than 130 families receive about 30 pounds of free fresh fruits and vegetables.  Waste Management volunteers help unload the truck, and distribute and carry food to cars and homes of the individuals that need help.  *As of late 2011, Foodbank is the new provider and the program is administered by Kings Community Action Organization.

Educational Support

Reef-Sunset Unified School District
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 Kettleman City Elementary School and Avenal High School are part of The Reef Sunset Unified School District. Graduates of the Kettleman City Elementary School attend Avenal High School. Each year, Waste Management provides two $500 scholarships to Avenal High School students.
- We also supported Reef Sunset’s 2009 summer school program in Kettleman City.
Kettleman City Elementary School
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 Waste Management has provided on-going support including:

  • Gift of $5,000 a year, for the past three years, for swimming pool operations at the school.
  • Construction of the baseball, softball and soccer fields, which we regularly maintain by edging and mowing.
  • Disposal of old playground equipment.
  • Donation of a new scoreboard for the school’s new gym.
  • Monetary support for each year’s yearbook class.
  • Funding of yearly field trips.
  • Purchased new school mascot T-shirts, as well as free backpacks and sports uniforms.
  • Annual support of the school volley ball team.
  • Provided portable lighting for school carnivals.
  • Designed a recycled art contest and provided a pizza party for the winning classroom.
  • Pumped out the flooded school basement.

Environmental Education Program
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For the 2011-12 school year, we have proposed collaboration with the local after-school program run by West Hills College. We plan to create a six-week environmental curriculum program to engage students in environmental responsibility and conservation.  We will also work with the Kettleman City Elementary School to implement a yearly education tour of our Kettleman Hills Facility so the students learn about the importance of proper waste management and recycling. 
Kettleman City Back to School
- The Soroptimist Club of Hanford hosts a back-to-school shopping day in partnership with a JC Penney store. Needy students from local schools receive gift cards for back-to-school clothing.  In 2011, Waste Management sponsored students from Kettleman City Elementary School. Along with the donation, the KHF volunteers helped chaperone school activities and donated their own funds to help purchase school clothes.

Other Community Work

Kettleman City Sports
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 The Waste Management Kettleman Hills Facility staff maintains the Kettleman City sports field year round.  The field is open to the community and is used most for soccer and baseball games.  We also sponsor Kettleman City Little League teams.
Kings Community Action Organization
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 Waste Management and Kings Community Action Organization (KCAO) have collaborated to bring high-value services to the residents of Kettleman City.  Last year WM KHF donated $50,000 to KCAO to facilitate their grant application to the State Department of Agriculture. The WM grant helped KCAO secure a $150,000 grant from the state to support  future services such as a computer lab and after-school tutoring; youth and adult job training; evening and daytime distance learning college classes; pregnant and parenting teen support services; utility assistance services; childcare assistance programs; and healthy marriage classes.  (KCAO, with assurances from US Department of AG, has delayed construction of the Opportunity Center because they have taken over the YMCA’s duties on operating the Resource and Community Center.)
- In addition to the $50,000 donation, KHF assisted KCAO with the development of the future Opportunity Center by donating roll off bins and free disposal of debris from a demolished building.
Kettleman City Community Resources Center
Waste Management supports the Community Resources Center by sponsoring awards for special events such as, an Easter egg hunt, Healthy Kids Day and Christmas giveaways.  Waste Management has also paid for transportation needed for youth activities. 
Kettleman City Foundation
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 The Kettleman City Foundation was created as part of a legal settlement. Waste Management agreed to donate 25 cents for each ton of municipal waste disposed into landfill B-19; and one dollar for each  ton of TSCA-regulated waste disposed at the site.  The money helps with the construction and maintenance of the Kettleman City Community Center, which provides services to low-income families and children. 
- Since 1998, payments to the Kettleman City Foundation have totaled more than $800,000.
Kettleman City Fire Department
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 A portion of the revenues Waste Management pays to Kings County are used to fund the Kettleman City Fire Department. 
- KHF funded the  retrofit of one of the local Station 9 fire engines to a water truck to use on wild land fires. 
- KHF also donated funds needed for asbestos removal from a building used as a training burn for Kings County Fire Fighters. 
- KHF has a team of trained First Responders at the site who provide on-call assistance to the local Station 9 Fire Department.
Kettleman City Sheriff’s Department 
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The KHF has supported the following events sponsored by the Sheriff’s Department:

  • National Night Out
  • Movie Night in the Park.
  • Toys for Tots Christmas event, which provides toys for all children in Kettleman City.
  • Field trips for youth
  • Explorers program.

General Community Giving
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 Our community relations team helped organize the annual Fiestas Patrias (Mexican Independence Day) event.  Each year, local food and crafts vendors sell their wares, dance troupes and ethnic bands perform, and a local princess is crowned at the event attended by approximately 500 people.
- Each year, the Kettleman Hills Facility team donates approximately 70 food baskets during the Christmas holidays to Kettleman City and Avenal families pre-selected by the Reef Sunset School District officials.

Future Public Health Benefits Negotiated with the Local Assessment Committee

The Local Assessment Committee (LAC) is a seven-member committee appointed by the Kings County Board of Supervisors and made up of members of the community.  Its primary function is to advise the Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission of the terms and conditions under which the Kettleman Hills Facility expansion project may be acceptable to the community. After dialogue between WM and the Committee, the following benefits were agreed upon, pursuant to the expansion permit:
- WM suggested and agreed to pay approximately $552,000 to eliminate the outstanding water debts of the Kettleman City Community Service District.  This will allow the district to obtain grants and financing to fund the new drinking water treatment plant needed to bring clean water to the community. - WM agreed to pay $100,000 for a community health survey on birth defects and cancer incidence. This program is to be administered by Kings County Health Department.
- WM suggested and agreed to pay up to $70,000 for electronic speed signs at opposite ends of the residential district. 
- We also suggested and agreed to pay ten percent of the cost of both the  CalTrans Safe Route to School study and ten percent (maximum of $150,000) toward construction of the its Safe Crossing project over the highway traversing Kettleman City.
- We agreed to provide funding ($450,000) to the Reef Sunset School District for installation and/or construction of a walking track, soccer field lighting, pavilion, and parking lot on the grounds of the Kettleman City Elementary School.  

WM’s KHF Community Relations Team

- The KHF has a full-time bi-lingual community relations representative who lives in Kettleman City, works closely with the community, and is a resource on a wide variety of issues that affect the community. The KHF community relations team hand-delivers -- to each Kettleman City home
 - a bi-monthly newsletter that communicates information regarding facility operations. - We also provide door-to-door outreach to communicate personally with residents, providing any updates regarding our site, and engaging residents to participate in any public meeting or public hearing
- We volunteer our time throughout the year at various community events in addition to all the events we organize or sponsor.  - We have offered tours of the Facility and have sponsored events at the site to encourage the community to see the Facility for themselves.