CWS Will Build “Clean, Modern” Facility in West Oakland

Sep 13, 2014

Posted in BusinessCommunityEconomic DevelopmentEducation/Schools/YouthGentrificationLaborOakland Job ProgramsOakland Talks TrashResponsive Government

Rendering of California Waste Solutions (CWS) facility at Oakland Army Base in West Oakland

By Ken Epstein

When people hear that California Waste Solutions (CWS) will build a waste transfer station at the Oakland Army Base in West Oakland, what comes to mind is Waste Management’s Davis Street transfer station in San Leandro, commonly known as the “Oakland dump.”

Nothing is farther from the truth, according to city leaders and officials at CWS, who are asking Oakland residents to take the time to separate fact from misinformation.

“The facility that we’re going to construct will be a state-of-the art mixed material processing and transfer facility. It will be nothing like Davis Street – it is light years ahead of what (Waste Management) is operating at Davis Street,” said Joel Corona, Chief Operations Officer of CWS.

Corona said he went this week with West Oakland resident Margaret Gordon and City Councilmember Lynette McElhaney to visit a state-of-the-art facility in San Carlos, which can provide a living example of how the new plant in Oakland will operate.

Like most of the modern facilities around the country, this plant is an indoor operation and indistinguishable from other adjacent industrial buildings.

Lynette Gibson McElhaney

The San Carlos plant is in an industrial park, located near Oracle. Inside, the plant is clean –  there is no paper or litter blowing around. There are no odors, no rodents and no swarming birds, like people expect to find when they visit Davis Street.

“Our plant will have high speed roll-up doors. Everything we do will be inside the facility,” said Corona.

The plant and its equipment will be cleaned daily, and trash material will be moved in and out quickly, not allowed to accumulate like at Davis Street, he said, emphasizing the facility will be designed and built by top professionals in the country.

By contrast, Davis Street started its life as a landfill in 1942 and has evolved since then, according to Councilmember McElhaney. Today, “Waste Management uses bulldozers to move trash and uses that trash to buffer the bulldozer from the concrete underneath,” she said. “The (operation) requires a constant layer of trash in order to function.”

Corona also emphasized that CWS would not be doing composting anywhere in Oakland.

“We’re simply not going to do that,” said Corona, hoping to clear up misinformation. All the composting will be done out of town in Napa or Yolo counties, where the product will be closer to agriculture, he said.

The new plant, which will be located on the city’s North Gateway property at the Oakland Army Base in West Oakland, will take 18 months to build, according to Corona. In the interim, the company will use facilities at East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) or in Richmond.

Margaret Gordon

CWS has plans A, B and C to ensure that it is prepared to pick up trash, starting day one next July, he said.

Rendering of CWS facility at Oakland Army Base in West Oakland

Responding to the city’s environmental requirements, CWS will be using a fleet of trucks that operate on natural gas fuel, state-of-the-art vehicles, he said.