Butte County

R3 was recently engaged by Butte County (County) to assist with solid waste planning efforts for the County’s Enterprise Fund and Neal Road Recycling and Waste Facility (NRRWF). R3 is providing a variety of services including:

  • Reviewing and confirming the Interim Year Rate Applications for the County’s three haulers: Waste Management, Recology, and Northern Waste and Recycling;
  • Assisting the County with SB 1383 Capacity Planning by projecting organic waste tons disposed by the County and its incorporated jurisdictions as well as projecting the required additional edible food recovery capacity;
  • Providing the County with draft franchise agreement language for all three haulers to incorporate compliance with AB 1826 & SB 1383, and assisting in contract negotiations with the haulers;
  • Conducting Base Year (Detailed) Rate Reviews for each of the County’s three haulers;
  • Performing a rate study and creating a rate model for the County’s Enterprise Fund; projecting different rate adjustment scenarios over 20 years to ensure revenues can accommodate required expenses;
  • Creating draft ordinance language for the County to comply with SB 1383; and
  • Performing on-call work, as needed, including CalRecycle regulatory assistance, community engagement assistance, grant preparation assistance, and local task force assistance.
SB 1383

R3 is currently leading a team consisting of SCS Engineers, Abbe & Associates, DKC Consulting, and Cascadia Consulting Group to provide initial planning support for RecycleMore and its Member Agencies in implementing Senate Bill (SB) 1383.

Project tasks include the following:

  • Analyze current RecycleMore organics collection programs for all sectors, including processing, and determine adequacy to support compliance with SB 1383 requirements; and
  • Provide an estimate of additional collection and/or processing capacity needed to achieve the SB 1383 requirements;
  • Analyze existing RecycleMore program compliance requirements and new compliance requirements under SB 1383, consider the listed activities under all state mandates; and
  • Provide recommendations for the most effective implementation of required activities, which include:
    • Education and Outreach;
    • Inspection and Enforcement, including the assessment of penalties and contamination monitoring;
    • Edible Food Recovery Programs;
    • Regulation of Self-Haul Sector;
    • Purchasing Policy Changes;
    • Municipal Code Updates; and
    • Container Color and Labeling Requirements.
  • Provide a recommendation and description for accurate record keeping and monitoring of recommended RecycleMore activities to determine their performance effectiveness and contribution to organics reduction.

Anticipated project benefits are enhanced compliance with SB 1383, as well as improved coordination on legislative compliance between RecycleMore and its Member Agencies.

Zero Waste Marin

R3 was recently selected by Zero Waste Marin to conduct an Organizational Assessment of the JPA and provide recommendations on Best Management Practices and agency design that will improve the JPA’s ability to support Marin’s efforts to reduce waste going to landfill; as well as a zero waste feasibility study update that identifies five short-list strategies and a roadmap toward implementation of those strategies.

Project tasks include the following:

  • Research, analyze, develop findings, and prepare recommendations regarding the JPA’s Board of Director’s structure and composition, including potential alternatives to current practices;
  • Research, analyze, develop findings and prepare recommendations for future JPA staffing, that would be necessary to implement potential future alternative JPA structure and/or composition (such as contract staffing, support costs, expanded program costs, etc.);
  • Research, analyze, and develop findings regarding per capita (and/or per ratepayer) funding levels for other similar (and/or model) solid waste and recycling joint powers authorities, including descriptions of zero waste achievement and programs and services provided by the comparison agencies;
  • Conduct workshops with the Executive Committee and/or Board on best management practices in other zero waste communities and similar joint powers authorities;
  • Utilize our expertise to provide advice and recommendations on possible updates the 1996 Joint Powers Agreement; and
  • Map out the next steps the JPA could take to effectively move towards its zero waste goals and objectives, and identify five short-list zero waste strategies for implementation based upon updated waste and diversion modeling, stakeholder input, and best practices in zero waste.

Anticipated benefits include enhanced organizational effectiveness and improved zero waste programs.

Napa Recycling and Waste Services

Napa County (County) engaged R3 to conduct a Performance Review and Billing Audit of its franchised hauler Napa County Recycling and Waste Services (NCRWS) in 2009, 2013, and 2020. R3’s objectives were to determine the extent of NCRWS’ compliance with the Franchise Agreement, billing and remittance practices, and make recommendations to the County for improvement of services. NCRWS provides all commercial and residential solid waste, recycling, and green waste collection services in the unincorporated area of Southern Napa County.

The major objectives of R3’s Performance Review and Billing Audit of NCRWS were to:

  • Determine the extent to which NCRWS has materially complied with the provisions of the Franchise Agreement;
  • Verify that NCRWS is properly billing customers and accurately remitting payments to the County; and
  • Make recommendations, as appropriate, for improvement of services.

As part of the review, R3 performed on-site reviews of records, conducted staff interviews, analyzed policies, procedures, and internal controls, and conducted field audits. A total of more than 140 separate contractual requirements were identified and reviewed.

In addition, the following aspects of NCRWS’ operations were reviewed:

  • Management and Administration;
  • Policies and Procedures, and Job Training;
  • Safety Issues and Safety Record;
  • Billing and Franchise Fee Payments;
  • Collection Operations Efficiency and Roll-Off Box Service Management;
  • Public Education and Diversion Plans; and
  • Vehicle Maintenance, Repair and Replacement.

R3 also compared NCRWS’ performance for various safety, customer service, collection productivity, diversion rate, and vehicle maintenance benchmarks to the industry standards.

As a result of our reviews, Napa County gained the following benefits:

  • Determination of NCRWS’ contract compliance;
  • Verification that NCRWS is properly billing customers and accurately remitting payments to the County;
  • Review of performance for various safety, customer service, collection productivity, diversion rate, and vehicle maintenance benchmarks to the industry standards; and
  • Recommendations for improvement of services.
West Contra Costa Sanitary Landfill

R3 is currently engaged by the City of Richmond (City) to conduct the City’s 5-Year Review of Republic Services’ (Republic’s) Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for the West Contra Costa Sanitary Landfill Bulk Materials Processing Center (inclusive of Golden Bear Transfer Station and associated solid waste facilities) for the period of January 2012 through March 2017.

R3 performed a high-level review that focused on key CUP terms and conditions relating to facility operations, such as hours of operation, maximum daily quantities, maximum storage capacity, odors, airborne bioaeresols and endotoxins; resource recovery diversion rate, and resource recovery best practices. The review also included, but was not limited, to the following areas: transfer station, materials recovery facility (MRF), and compost operations; illegal dumping mitigation; leachate containment and handling systems; and health and safety practices in place at the facilities. Separate reports were prepared for the City’s information for specified areas of particular concern.

R3’s major tasks for the review included:

  • Review of relevant background materials, including the Conditional Use Permit (CUP), Solid Waste Facility Permit (SWFP), California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) documentation and other relevant permits;
  • Preparation of the letter to Republic announcing the City’s intent to Review;
  • Preparation of an appendix detailing the data required for Republic’s submittal of a CUP compliance assessment; and
  • Facilitation of a meeting with City staff and Republic to discuss the process and answer questions.
  • Comprehensive verification of Republic’s submitted compliance assessment through site visits, observations of operations and evaluation of supplemental information from Republic.

Upon completion of the review, R3 assisted the City in drafting and negotiating changes to the CUP and a staff report to the Planning Commission, which included the recommendation to conduct ongoing monitoring for the period of one (1) additional year.

The additional year of monitoring is currently underway, and R3 has been engaged by the City to complete this review. R3 has held various meetings with the City and Republic to discuss the results of the review, incorporate comments, and provide clarifications and recommendations before finalizing the Review and presenting it to the City Planning Commission.

Monterey County - Solid Waste Flows

From 2014-2015, R3 was engaged by the County of Monterey (County) to evaluate and analyze its Solid Waste Management System, with the objective of developing an integrated regional approach as an alternative to the existing “split” between the two sub-regional solid waste management agencies. R3’s primary goal was to develop options to provide an efficient solid waste system to the entire Monterey region in a way that protected public health and the environment, provided benefits to all rate-payers, was committed to the highest and best use of materials, was adaptable and responsive in managing materials, and ensured that services were accessible to all customers.

R3’s work efforts included modeling tonnage flows between each community, transfer stations, processing facility and disposal facilities to determine the most environmentally sound and cost-efficient manner to manage solid waste on a regional basis. The modeling efforts addressed costs, GHG reductions, increasing diversion from landfill, closure of landfills, and location of transfer stations. The study’s results were presented in a series of regional workshops that facilitated the collaboration between all parties involved to remove barriers that previously had undermined cost-effective regional efforts to benefit all ratepayers. to identify and develop a consensus on operational, financial, political, and legal issues as alternatives to the status quo.

Clients of this regional engagement included the County of Monterey, Monterey Regional Waste Management District, Salinas Valley Solid Waste Authority, Pebble Beach Community CSD and the cities of Carmel-by-the-sea, Del Rey Oaks, Gonzales, Greenfield, King, Marina, Monterey, Pacific Grove, Salinas, Sand City, Seaside and Soledad.

Chico

In 2014, R3 developed a franchise system of solid waste collection for the City of Chico (City) to replace the City’s existing open-market permit system. Under the existing system, solid waste subscription was not mandatory, commercial and multi-family dwelling (MFD) rates were unregulated, and the City provided many services generally provided for free by a hauler under an exclusive franchise agreement. For this engagement, R3 developed and helped implement an improved solid waste collection system that fulfilled the City’s environmental goals and complied with State regulations, including AB 939, AB 341, and AB 1826.

Through R3’s facilitation, the City entered into negotiations for a new franchised collection system with its two permitted haulers, North Valley Waste Management (WM) and Recology Butte Colusa Counties (Recology), with the franchising costs fully reimbursed by the haulers. R3 worked extensively with the City and its permitted haulers to develop and analyze future franchising options, including documenting the existing conditions of the City’s solid waste system, developing key terms and conditions of potential franchise agreements, and establishing operational zones and requirements for the new collection system.

R3 proposed a solid waste collection system with three collection franchise contracts: two exclusive Commercial/Multi-family service zones operated by Recology and WM, and one exclusive City-wide Residential service zone operated by WM. R3 assisted the City in the implementation of the new system, including developing deal points for the City and haulers, developing draft agreement language, negotiating the final agreements, and revising the City’s municipal code.

After successful negotiations, the new agreement went into effect in October 2017. Benefits included a 10% Franchise Fee, operation of previously City-provided services, and clearly defined diversion, service, and equipment requirements.

Project Description:

At the time of this engagement, the City’s solid waste collection was regulated through an open-market permit system, with unrestricted permits issued to North Valley Waste Management (WM) and Recology Butte Colusa Counties (Recology) to serve both residential and commercial accounts in the City. Both permits were set to expire on June 30th, 2019.

San Diego - Districting Study

R3 was recently engaged by the City of San Diego (City) Environmental Services Department (ESD) to conduct a study that evaluated whether the ESD should implement a districted exclusive collection system for the diversion and disposal of commercial solid waste generated within the City. At the time of this project, the City regulated commercial solid waste generation under a non-exclusive commercial collection system, with 21 non-exclusive commercial Franchise Agreements (FAs) and nine franchise haulers competing for accounts throughout the City. Through the implementation of a “districted” system, the City would be organized into multiple service areas (districts) with a single hauler operating in each.

R3 had a wide range of responsibilities for this engagement, including, but not limited to performing the following tasks for the City:

  • Identifying and evaluating three alternative district configurations which the City could consider as starting points for defining boundaries in a new districted system;
  • Developing three different scenarios for implementation to present possible policy alternatives to the City;
  • Analyzing the issues identified in the Office of the City Auditor (OCA) in the August 2014 Performance Audit of ESD’s Waste Reduction and Recycling Programs both in terms of how other jurisdictions addressed these issues and their potential effect in the City of San Diego:
    • Potential to stimulate investment and innovation in recycling;
    • Customer service impacts;
    • Impact on street conditions and street maintenance costs;
    • Environmental impacts;
    • Impact on City’s ability to stabilize franchise and AB 939 fee revenues and monitor the accuracy of payments; and
    • Impact on long-term solid waste hauling competition.
  • Providing analysis on possible price impacts by conducting surveys on:
    • Rate and programs for cities in San Diego County;
    • Current commercial and multi-family rates in the City; and
    • Large California cities and other cities with exclusive commercial franchise systems.
  • Holding two public forums as an outreach program to discuss a districted exclusive collection system with haulers, interest groups and the general public; and
  • Making recommendations to the City in the case of implementation.

R3 ultimately found that adopting a districted exclusive collection system would produce many benefits, and accordingly made recommendations to the City regarding the implementation of such a system. These recommendations included specific details regarding the development of new FAs with exclusive franchised haulers to align with the City’s environmental goals, and a 3-district  option that maximized routing efficiency and reductions in traffic, air equality emissions, greenhouse gas emissions, and noise.

Lane County Facilities

R3 (with the assistance of Abbe & Associates and Blue Ridge Services) was engaged by Lane County (County), Oregon, with a three (3) phased master planning process: conducting an Operational Review, developing a Regional Strategic Master Plan, and developing Jurisdiction-Specific Action Plans. The County operates a series of 16 transfer stations, a large landfill and a special waste facility.

Phase I: Operational Assessment

R3 reviewed the operations and finances of Lane County’s landfill and transfer station system, and material recovery operations, and identified opportunities to improve the safety, cost, diversion, and overall system performance. Recommendations were very well received by Lane County and include: reconfiguring Lane County’s rates for material recovery facility residuals to provide more effective incentives to divert material, revising operations at the landfill and at the County’s central transfer station, and closing various rural transfer sites. The Phase I Operational Assessment Final Report was presented and well received by the County Board of Commissioners. A major goal was to identify at least $1.5 million in annual cost savings for the Division; R3’s recommendations are projected to save the County $1.8 million annually.

Phase II: Regional Master Plan

Phase 2 of the project involves conducting a needs assessment and developing a strategic Regional Master Plan, with the goal of achieving a Countywide diversion rate of 63%. The Phase II Regional Waste Master Plan involves identifying, evaluating and recommending programs and policy options, and projecting funding needs associated with the recommended Master Plan components.  R3 also led the stakeholder involvement process as part of Phase II. As part of the development of the Regional Master Plan, R3 designed the supporting stakeholder involvement process that included:

  • Developing a short- and long-range vision (initially working with Lane County staff, then with stakeholders);
  • Developing a communication plan to compile information and feedback from representatives of the various cities in Lane County, the private solid waste haulers and facility operators, non-profits, and residents and businesses; and
  • Conducting stakeholder engagement and outreach efforts (workshops, public meetings, publications, websites, etc.) to obtain feedback, ideas, and “buy-in.”
  • As part of this phase, R3 leveraged the County’s regional food recovery programs to develop recommendations for increased edible food recovery.

Phase III: Jurisdiction-Specific Action Plans

Phase III of the project involved working with the cities of Eugene and Springfield to develop jurisdiction-specific Action Plans to guide the implementation of solid waste management system polices, programs, and facilities in those jurisdictions that are aligned with the County’s Regional Master Plan.

Recently, R3 was selected to further assist the County with the following:

  • Drafting and executing waste disposal agreements with each of the incorporated cities that currently deliver their waste to the County’s waste management transfer station and landfill system;
  • Assessing  the pros and cons of establishing a countywide solid waste joint powers authority, and each of the jurisdiction’s level of interest in forming a JPA, and identify next steps; and
  • Drafting and negotiating a memorandum of understanding for coordinated county-wide solid waste management reporting requirements,;
  • Assess the pros and cons of the various collection system structures available to the County for the regulation of its private haulers in the Eugene-Springfield Urban Growth Boundary and the other more rural unincorporated areas of the County, and recommend a preferred structure
    based on the County’s objectives for its solid waste management system;
  • Drafting a performance-based high-recovery “model” franchise agreement, with private hauler input, that the County can use to regulate haulers within the County based on the preferred collection system structures determined above; and
  • Assisting the County with the executing performance-based high- franchise agreements with the private haulers operating in unincorporated Lane County.
Siskiyou County

R3 was engaged by Siskiyou County (County) Department of Solid Waste (Department) to assist with an Evaluation of the County’s existing solid waste system and the development of a Solid Waste Management Plan (Plan) in support of determining future disposal and recycling contracting methods that increase efficiencies and reduce costs.

R3’s objectives for this engagement involved conducting the following primary three tasks:

  • Formulating a specific strategy to extend the County’s existing contracts, and/or to conduct the competitive procurement of the County’s operation services;
  • Conducting a rate comparison and creating a Rate Model to develop a 10-year Rate Adjustment Plan that supports the long-term financial strength of the County’s Sanitation Enterprise Fund; and
  • Reviewing and providing actionable recommendations to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the County’s current collection, transfer and disposal systems.

Specifically, R3 reviewed and compared the County’s Transfer Station gate rate to those in similar rural counties, and providing a comparison of the County’s solid waste parcel fee to solid waste parcel fees in other counties in the State (Calaveras, El Dorado, Glenn, Kern, Modoc, Mono, Sierra and Trinity Counties).

R3 assessed the County’s overall solid waste management system to support the identification and realization of opportunities to increase the efficiency and reduce the cost of the Sanitation Enterprise Fund. R3 conducted a SWOT analysis to identify internal Strengths and Weaknesses, and external Opportunities and Threats to the County’s solid waste management system. To accomplish this, R3 worked with County staff on site, touring its facilities and observing its operations in order to comprehensively review the efficiency and effectiveness of the current collection, transfer and disposal systems, and develop meaningful recommendations for improvement.

To support the ongoing management of the Department’s finances, R3 also developed a recommended 10-year Rate Adjustment Plan to enable the County to maintain a positive annual net cash flow for the Sanitation Enterprise Fund, retire its current $6 million debt within a targeted time frame, and fund a new transfer station in Yreka. To do this, R3 created a simple Excel-based Rate Model which can be used to model various gate rate and/or parcel fee adjustments.