Facility Overview

The Kettleman Hills Facility provides waste treatment, storage and disposal operations for hazardous waste (HW) as well as disposal for municipal solid waste (MSW).

Location

The facility is situated on a 1,600‐acre property with 499 acres currently available and permitted for waste management activities.

The facility is located about three miles southeast of Kettleman City in a rural area of Kings County, surrounded by grazing lands and oil and gas production. The closest residence to the facility is located about 2.5 miles to the north‐northeast of the facility.

Regulatory Oversight

The facility is primarily regulated and frequently inspected by the following agencies:

  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA)
  • California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC)
  • California Regional Water Quality Control Board‐Central Valley Region (RWQCB)
  • Kings County Department of Public Health (KCDPH)
  • San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District (SJVUAPCD)
  • California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle)

Operational Overview

The waste treatment, storage and disposal units at the facility include the following:

  • Hazardous waste landfill (Unit B‐18)
  • Two municipal solid waste landfills (Units B‐17 and B‐19)
    • B‐17 Landfill is open and accepts household waste from Kings County and nearby counties
    • B‐19 Landfill is open and operates as a Next Generation Landfill
  • Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) flushing/storage unit
  • Final Stabilization Unit
  • Bulk Storage Units (2)
  • Drum Storage Unit

Hazardous Waste Landfill

The facility is permitted to accept most types of hazardous wastes as defined by the USEPA and the state of California. The following hazardous wastes are not accepted at the facility:

  • Radioactive materials regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or the US Department of Energy (or not expressly authorized for disposal under California’s Radiation Control Law). Examples of prohibited radioactive waste include: source materials such as uranium; self‐illuminating exit signs; smoke detectors; mill tailings from the mining of uranium ores, and non‐decommissioned materials
  • Compressed gases in cylinders (excluding aerosol cans)
  • Explosives that meet specific DOT Class definitions such as gun powder, black powder, ammunition, grenades, bombs, charges, fireworks, propellants, and blasting agents
  • Biological agents or pathogens including viruses and bacteria that are known to pose a significant health threat to humans
  • Infectious wastes such as untreated medical waste and wastes that are known or suspected to contain blood‐borne pathogens.

Most wastes accepted at the hazardous waste landfill are not classified as hazardous waste by the USEPA – they are classified as such by California’s more stringent regulations. These materials include asbestos debris, petroleum contaminated soils and debris, soils and debris with metal contamination, household hazardous waste from collection events, baghouse dusts, various ash waste, filter cake, catalyst solids, latex paint, groundwater, stormwater, clarifier water and various sludges.

Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Landfill

Kettleman Hills has two state‐of‐the‐art landfills designed for household and commercial trash (municipal solid waste). One of these units, B‐19, has been partially converted to a Next Generation Landfill (otherwise known as a bioreactor landfill) which means that liquids are added to speed up the decomposition of waste. The landfill gas that is generated as a byproduct is captured and destroyed. The other landfill, B‐17, takes in household trash primarily from Kings, Tulare and Fresno Counties. The facility is permitted to receive a maximum of 2,000 tons of MSW per day (TPD), but typically receives an average of only about 1,350 TPD.

PCB Flushing/Storage Unit

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are a mixture of individual organic chemicals, which were used for 50 years until their manufacture was banned in 1979. They still can be found today in transformers, other electrical equipment such as capacitors, and fluorescent light ballasts. The PCB flushing/storage unit at the facility is used to process and temporarily store PCB‐containing transformers and capacitors. Less than 1 percent of the wastes accepted at the facility are managed in the PCB flushing/storage unit.

Final Stabilization Unit (FSU)

Certain hazardous wastes require either stabilization or solidification prior to disposal in the hazardous waste landfill. The Final Stabilization Unit is a fully enclosed building where those wastes are treated.

Bulk Storage Units (BSU I and BSU II)

Bulk hazardous wastes stored prior to treatment in the FSU are stored in BSU II, a double‐lined storage area. Bulk hazardous wastes that have been treated in the FSU, and are awaiting analytical results prior to disposal, are stored in BSU I, a single‐lined storage area.

Drum Storage Unit

The Drum Storage Unit is a lined, open‐sided roofed structure used for the storage of drums and small containers prior to their final disposal.

Permit Approvals Currently Sought:

  • Expansion of the existing hazardous waste landfill (B‐18) to allow several more years of disposal
  • Development of a new hazardous waste landfill (B‐20) on currently undeveloped land at the site, to open after B‐18 reaches capacity and to operate for roughly 24 years
  • Permit renewal for the PCB flushing/storage unit