The Kettleman Hills Facility:
There's More Than You Know

Safe and Essential for California's Environmental Stewardship

It is essential for California to safely dispose of its own hazardous waste, and Kettleman Hills is essential to achieving that goal.  A premier world-class facility, Kettleman Hills is also the most thoroughly analyzed hazardous waste facility in the country. In 2010, in response to concerns about potential public health impacts in Kettleman City, CalEPA and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) undertook an investigation unprecedented in scope to determine the possible sources of cancer, birth defects and other public health impacts in Kettleman City. The result:  no linkage has been found between facility activities and any public health impacts in Kettleman City.

But there’s a lot more to the story.  The facts about Kettleman Hills might surprise you.

Kettleman Hills is Safe

Cancer and Birth Defects:  Based on exhaustive analysis, including more than 25 years of data from the California Birth Defects Monitoring Program and data from the California Cancer Registry since 1988, CDPH found that:

Air Quality:  Extensive studies and long-term air monitoring at the Kettleman Hills Facility and in Kettleman City show that potential emissions from the facility do not pose health risks in residential areas in and around Kettleman City. A health risk assessment prepared for the investigating agencies found that risks in and around Kettleman City associated with Kettleman Hills emissions are at least 700 times lower than the background risk levels. 

Drinking Water:  The Kettleman Hills facility poses no risk to Kettleman City’s two drinking water wells. 

  • CalEPA has determined that it is impossible for wastewater from Kettleman Hills to affect Kettleman City’s wells, because geological formations beneath the facility divert groundwater flow to the west, away from the city's wells.
  • Long-term, extensive data from approximately 50 groundwater monitoring wells on and around the facility over the last 25 years confirm that Kettleman Hills poses no threat to Kettleman City’s drinking water.

Kettleman Hills Benefits the Community

Clean Drinking Water:  As a long-time member of the community, Waste Management is committed to help bring clean drinking water to Kettleman City, which has naturally occurring poor water quality. 

  • Waste Management has pledged to pay an existing $552,000 city water service debt, which enabled the city to receive an $8 million grant from the state to build a permanent water treatment plant to deliver clean drinking water.
  • Waste Management has contributed $50,000 to the city, matching a grant from the CDPH, to deliver interim bottled water to residents until the plant is built. 
  • Operating under the new permit, hazardous waste gate fees paid to the county will provide up to $3 million over the next 20 years to operate the water treatment plant and keep water rates affordable.

Reduced Diesel Emissions:  Even though only approximately 100 of the 9,200 trucks traveling through Kettleman City each day are destined for the facility, Waste Management is dedicated to reducing these hazardous waste trucks’ diesel emissions.

  • Under its new permit, Kettleman Hills will prohibit entry to any truck that does not meet the ARB’s 2007 engine emission standard – a first-of-its-kind program that will reduce diesel emissions up to eight years earlier than required under the statewide compliance schedule for diesel emission reductions.

Local Jobs and More:  The Kettleman Hills Facility is a major contributor to the Kettleman City and Kings County economy and an active civic partner for the betterment of Kettleman City.

  • When operating at normal capacity, Kettleman Hills creates 90 full-time jobs that provide good wages and health and retirement benefits. 
  • Kettleman Hills generates about $17.5 million in economic activity for local businesses, and pays $1-$2 million/year to the county general fund in hazardous waste fees.
  • Kettleman Hills provides ongoing support to Kettleman City Elementary School and contributed more than $250,000 to Kings County for a community health survey and a pregnancy planning program in Kettleman City and other at-risk communities.

Kettleman Hills Is Essential to California  -- Today and in the Future

  • California has a longstanding policy to manage and dispose of California-generated hazardous waste without shipping it out of state. But with its current very limited capacity, California sends up to 80% of its hazardous waste out of state.
  • The Brown Administration has announced a bold initiative, which Waste Management supports, to reduce the 1.7 million tons of hazardous waste generated annually in California by 50% by 2025.  Even if California meets this ambitious goal, the capacity of the Kettleman Hills Facility will be essential to safely manage the remaining hazardous waste generated in California.

Kettleman Hills Facility

   Safe for California
Essential to California

Contact Information

Where are Kettleman City and the Kettleman Hills Facility? 

Kettleman City, an unincorporated community of about 1,620 residents, is located just east of I-5 and the California Aqueduct in an agricultural and oil- and gas-producing region of Kings County midway between Los Angeles and the Bay Area.  State Route 41 also runs through Kettleman City.

Kettleman Hills Facility is a fully permitted, 1,600 acre hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal facility located 3.5 miles southwest of Kettleman City.  I-5, the California Aqueduct and a range of hills called the North Kettleman Dome run between Kettleman City and the Kettleman Hills Facility. In 2008 Waste Management applied to the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to expand a hazardous waste cell from 53 to 67 acres within the facility’s existing footprint.

Kettleman Hills Facility
35251 Old Skyline Road
P.O. Box 471
Kettleman City, CA 93239

Bob Henry
E-mail: bhenry3@wm.com  
Phone: 559-386-6195

Get directions to our location


WM's Paul Turek, Environmental Engineer,  talks about his work at WM's  Kettleman Hills Facility