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.
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.

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.
San Francisco

Detailed Rate Application Review

R3 assisted the City of San Francisco Public Works Department (SFPWD) with a high-level review of Recology San Francisco’s (Recology) Rate Year 2017 Rate Application. R3’s role included a detailed examination and analysis of the rate adjustment application to determine if Recology’s calculated costs, revenues, and assumptions were reasonable, appropriate and accurate. As part of the review, R3 also evaluated Recology’s proposed changes to the single-family and multi-family rate structure – specifically, changes to the fixed and variable portions of the single-family and multi-family rates, and the associated impact on ratepayers. To assist the SFPWD in determining whether to accept the changes, R3 assessed how the fixed/variable rate structure compared to Recology’s fixed/variable expenses, and developed comparative scenarios for consideration by the SFPWD.

Over the course of this engagement, R3 provided the SFPWD with recommended programmatic changes to achieve higher levels of material diversion from landfill in support of SFPWD’s zero waste goal, and recommended adjustments to operating costs, revenues, and projection assumptions to better represent service area conditions and balance Recology’s needs with the interests of the SFPWD and its ratepayers. Additionally, R3 evaluated a complex change in collection services, which resulted in an increase of 23 collection routes throughout the SFPWD’s service areas and a net increase in the capacity for the collection of diversion waste streams.

Following R3’s verification of the application, the SFPWD successfully adopted Recology’s requested rate adjustment.

Currently, R3 is conducting a review of the reporting requirements outlined in the City and County of San Francisco’s 2017 Director’s report and Recommended Orders on Recology’s 2017 Rate Application. The review consists of comparing assumptions in the 2017 Rate Application to actual performance, reviewing the standardized format for the rate application, proposing changes in the rate-setting methodology and quarterly and annual reports, and assisting staff with developing changes to the application and supporting schedules. R3 has conducted an in-depth analysis of the hauler’s operating ratio, cost of living adjustments, and a variance analysis of projected to actual expenses and revenue to provide future recommendations to staff.

C&D Third-Party Verifications

R3 is currently an approved Third-Party Verifier for the City of San Francisco (City) Department of the Environment, conducting third-party verifications of facilities seeking to receive and process construction and demolitions (C&D) debris generated in the City as required under the Department of the Environment’s C&D Debris Recovery Ordinance. R3’s primary role as a Third-Party Verifier is to conduct on-site facility evaluations of facility recovery rates and verify the operational effectiveness of facilities to meet the City’s minimum 65% recovery rate.

R3‘s Third-Party Verification process typically includes these steps:

  • Engagement letter of third-party verification with the facility;
  • Review of validity of facility’s solid waste facility permits and certifications;
  • Receiving and reviewing 12 months of facility data including summaries, by material type, of facility input and outbound tonnage data (incl. marketed materials, residuals, and materials used as Alternative Daily Cover at landfill);
  • Scheduling site visit to review scales and verify best practices of facility;
  • Preparing agenda and preparing facility for site visit, which may include one or more phone calls;
  • Conducting site visit;
  • Resolving any discrepancies and conducting any follow-up data requests and/or site visits, as necessary; and
  • Preparation of electronic final letter report of facility certification, including recommendation for approval or denial.

R3 was selected by the City of Santa Clara (City) in 2017 via a competitive procurement process to conduct an audit of the City’s 10 Non-Exclusive Franchised (NEF) haulers. The NEF haulers provide garbage, recycling, organics, and construction and demolition (C&D) debris collection services within the industrial-zoned areas of the City.

The objectives of this original engagement were to review the period of July 2016 to June 2017 and verify the following:

  1. The accuracy of the haulers’ quarterly reports;
  2. The accuracy of the haulers’ franchise fee payments; and
  3. The haulers’ compliance with the requirement not to provide garbage service to commercial customers that generate 4+ cubic yards per week and are in violation of the City’s mandatory recycling and organics requirements.

R3’s review identified significant underpayments of franchise fees by the haulers, ultimately amounting in a net total of $102,000 owed to the City. R3 communicated the results of the recalculations to the NEF haulers, and all agreed to the mathematical accuracy of franchise fee amounts owed to/from the City.

R3 also provided the City with the following:

  • Identification of haulers that were non-compliant with the commercial recycling and organics subscription reporting requirements specified by their Agreements;
  • Consolidated list of customer listings from each hauler, with updated status of customers’ commercial recycling and organics compliance or exemption status; and
  • Revisions to the NEF Hauler Agreements to include the following:
    • Simplification of the tiered franchise fee calculation by switching to a flat franchise fee on all gross billings;
    • Promotion of diversion through alternative mechanisms, including:
      • Universal bundled services for garbage, recycling, and organics; and
      • Specifications involving minimum diversion rates for facilities that process collected materials;
    • Clarification of the language pertinent to gross billings; and
    • Incorporation of language to facilitate compliance with state legislative requirements.

As a result of the initial audit, R3 was retained by the City to conduct two more NEF hauler audit cycles, as well as to support the implementation of our recommendation to revise the NEF Agreements to facilitate future compliance with state legislation. Our most recent audit for the period of July 2017-2018 identified an additional net total of more than $160,500 in underpayments owed to the City. R3 will conduct the next audit for the City between July 2019 and December 2021.

R3 has conducted a wide range of projects for the City of Santa Rosa (City), including the following:

Zero Waste Plan

R3’s Zero Waste Plan (Plan) was tailored to the unique disposal and waste reduction trends and goals of the City, executable within, and measured by, 5-, 10-, and 20-year milestones.For this project, R3 formed a project team of leading experts in the fields of Zero Waste public engagement, waste stream modeling, and municipal solid waste planning. Aided by the expertise of two subconsultants, Ruth Abbe of Abbe & Associates and Cascadia Consulting Group, R3’s primary goal for this project was to provide the City with a Plan that sets the new standard in its specificity, rigor, and vision.

In developing the Plan, R3 provided the City with a quantitative, practical guide to residential, commercial and City programs that will achieve the City’s Zero Waste goals. The Plan also provided the City with cost estimates of the Zero Waste programs that would be necessary to achieve those goals, which included an analysis of current disposal and diversion tonnage and trends in the City and an estimate of what can actually be diverted with the Plan.

Core components of the Plan included developing a Waste Diversion Model and implementation outreach strategy, conducting a vigorous stakeholder engagement process, and designing a comprehensive Plan document that includes policy, program, partnership, and facility diversion options for the City. R3 also provided the City with an analysis of the economic, diversion, greenhouse gas, and financial impacts of the Plan, as well as the timeline and actionable steps for its implementation.

R3 shepherded Council adoption of Plan with recommendations for $600,000 in annual program funding.

Performance Review(s)

R3 is currently engaged by the City to conduct a comprehensive Performance Review of the City’s franchised solid waste hauler, Recology Sonoma Marin (Recology), for the calendar year 2018 and the first quarter of 2019. The review included the following main tasks:

  • Franchise Agreement (Agreement) and Regulatory Compliance Review;
  • Operational Performance Review, including management and administration, collection operations, customer service and financial management practices, and vehicle and equipment upkeep;
  • Billing Audit and Financial Assessment; and
  • Legislative Compliance Review.

R3 is working with Recology and the City to review Recology’s existing services through data analysis, observations, and on-site reviews. For this engagement, R3 is specifically addressing Recology’s efforts in support of the City’s compliance with AB 1826 and SB 1383, as well as the hauler’s achievement of its 40% diversion requirement.

Procurement Assistance

As a result of a performance review conducted by R3 in 2015, we were engaged by the City to provide assistance in procuring a new hauler for the City’s solid waste and recycling collection and processing services.  As with all of our procurement projects, R3 worked closely with City staff to complete the following tasks:

  • Conduct community workshops and City Council meetings;
  • Prepare written RFPs and Agreements;
  • Oversee the competitive procurement process;
  • Analyze waste hauler proposals; and
  • Manage the evaluation of proposers and selection of a provider for City services.

This project resulted in a high-diversion, state-of-the-art residential and commercial exclusive Agreement (that complied with AB 1826 and SB 1383) and RFP. The City received five (5) proposals for the provision of collection service – R3 reviewed and analyzed proposals, interviewed and negotiated with the highest-ranked companies, conducted site visits at proposed facilities, and provided the City with high-level information about how each company could affect the goals and collection within the City.

During this process, The Ratto Group sold its company to Recology. R3 assisted in a review of Recology to establish findings regarding the proposed contract assignment, on behalf of the various jurisdictions in Sonoma County (including Santa Rosa) holding solid waste collection franchise and other agreements with The Ratto Group. Currently, R3 is providing contract management assistance and developing a Zero Waste Plan for Santa Rosa.

Citrus Heights - Organics Program

The City of Citrus Heights (City), as well as the Sacramento region, is facing challenges with the recycling of organic waste due to limited capacity at existing facilities, lack of infrastructure, and no long-term solutions. R3 is working with the City to build upon the current structure of the City’s solid waste initiatives to establish new mechanisms for implementation of a more resilient solid waste program.

Our team is assisting the City in with strategic planning for implementation of upcoming state laws, including preparation and aid in addressing challenges and providing guidance during the development of the SB 1383 planning process.

Our scope of work includes:

  • Providing the City with recommended contract negotiations with the haulers to ensure that needed services (weekly organics collection, mandatory universal commercial organics collection, Edible Food Recovery Program, etc.) are incorporated into the collection agreements via amendment(s);
  • Providing additional support for AB 341, AB 1826, SB 1383, and other applicable state laws which require City attention in order to enable the City to implement more successful compliance strategies through a establishing a stronger strategic plan;
  • Conducting community stakeholder meetings and presenting updates to elected officials on legislative requirements; and
  • Updating the City’s municipal code, amending the franchise agreement, and conducting rate adjustments.

We anticipate providing the following benefits to the City at project completion:

  • The facilitation of adjustments to existing reporting pathways;
  • Development of a streamlined strategic plan(s) for full implementation of SB 1383 by January 1, 2022;
  • Development and negotiation assistance for amendments to Municipal Code and existing residential and commercial contracts; and
  • Coordinated County wide facilitation and strategy planning for SB 1383 and overall state compliance.
Rancho Cordova

R3 has provided various on-call solid waste consulting services for the City of Rancho Cordova (City) since 2004, including comprehensive assistance in implementing AB 341, AB 1826, and SB 1383 programs. R3 is currently serving as City solid waste support staff.

R3’s specific tasks include:

  • Creating an overall branded look for the City, which included analyzing, providing recommendations, and assisting with the development of education and outreach material (letters to covered generators, brochures, updated website language, social media posts, customer guides, etc.) for AB 341, AB 1826, AB 827, and SB 1383 compliance, among other applicable state law;
  • Revising the City’s non-exclusive commercial Franchise Agreements (Agreements) and City’s Municipal Code to incorporate AB, 341, 1826, and SB 1383 requirements (provision of services, tonnage and covered generator tracking, delivery of recyclable materials and organic waste to certified facilities, education and outreach, multifamily bulky waste collection, annual planning and reporting, inspection, monitoring, etc.);
  • Revising waste hauler reporting forms to include local and state regulatory requirements;
  • Developing mechanisms for hauler tracking and monitoring;
  • Identifying covered generators and top waste food waste generators for AB 1826 and SB 1383 compliance;
  • Monitoring covered generator compliance;
  • Meeting with the City’s food recovery organizations to discuss opportunities for collaboration regarding the Edible Food Recovery Requirement in SB 1383;
  • Verifying the receipt of quarterly covered generator compliance reports and the required notification and outreach to non-compliant businesses;
  • Assisting in evaluating and reviewing annual rate increases;
  • Assisting in contract negotiations and amendments for applicable state law;
  • Assisting with annual State reporting and grant submissions;
  • Assisting the City and its haulers with the development of the required organic recycling service component;
  • Overseeing the contractual requirements and fee payments of its residential franchised hauler, Republic Services (Republic), and 10 non-exclusive franchised haulers; and
  • Providing the City with recommendations to further maintain good-standing with CalRecycle, including organizing and managing correspondence with CalRecycle, and developing associated public education and outreach.

As a result of our assistance, the City gained the following benefits:

  • City compliance with state regulations by adding waste hauler requirements to Agreements and Ordinance;
  • More efficient waste hauler tracking protocols;
  • Annual EAR reporting and grant submissions for funding mechanisms;
  • Capacity planning and edible food recovery protocols; and
  • Up-to-date Ordinances to reflect local and state regulatory requirements.