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.

Carlsbad - Sustainable Materials Management Plan

R3, with subconsultant Cascadia Consulting Group,  was engaged by the City of Carlsbad (City) to develop a Sustainable Materials Management Plan (SMMP). The purpose of the SMMP was to identify specific policies and ordinances, programs and services, service provider contractual requirements, and facility capacity that Carlsbad should pursue to achieve its sustainable materials management objectives. The SMMP was organized into the following three phases:

  • Phase 1) Ensure compliance with all state solid waste regulations currently in effect.
  • Phase 2) Achieve regulatory compliance with all SB 1383 regulations.
  • Phase 3) Establish sustainable materials management systems throughout Carlsbad.

Implementation of Carlsbad’s SMMP and the completion of Phase 3 will result in the following:

  1. Sustainable materials management systems in all city government departments;
  2. Sustainable materials management systems throughout Carlsbad’s residential and commercial sectors, and public areas and venues; and
  3. Establishing the city as a leader in sustainable materials management.

The SMMP’s “actions” for each of the 3 Phases are presented in the context of the following three elements of sustainable materials management systems (life-cycle phases), with the major types of actions associated with each element noted:

  1. Upstream Design and Production – Designing and producing sustainable materials and products that have high post-consumer recycled content and contain no or minimal raw (virgin) materials, have no or limited packaging, are non-toxic, and are readily recyclable.
    • Major related actions include: Sustainable Procurement, Material Bans (Product Bans) | Disposal Bans, and Product Stewardship | Take Back Ordinances.
  2. Consumption and Use – Consuming and using sustainably produced materials and products in a manner that is consistent with the hierarchy of waste reduction, reuse, and recycling.
    • Major related actions include: Waste Prevention | Source Reduction, Material Reuse, and Sustainable Materials Market Development and Support
  3. End-of-Life Management – Maximizing diversion of materials and the production of post-consumer recycled content feedstock for upstream design and production of sustainable materials (i.e., closing the loop).
    • Major related actions include: Diversion Programs and Regional Advocacy and Support.

In support of city’s the end-of-life management objectives, it will need to negotiate changes to its existing collection contract and Palomar Transfer Station (PTS) operating contract, and/or draft new agreements and conduct competitive procurement processes for collection and transfer station services when the current contract terms expire. The City will also need to establish policies, enact or amend ordinances, and provide other support activities as deemed appropriate in support of its sustainable materials management objectives.

The SMMP has been well received by the City and its elected officials. The City’s planned next steps are the development and execution of a detailed Implementation Plan.

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.
Yolo Food Bank

R3 is providing the Yolo Food Bank with assistance to support the Yolo Food Bank’s efforts to expand its capacity by 50% and assist in the development and execution of a Distribution and Sourcing Plan to secure and distribute an additional 2+ million pounds of healthy food annually.

R3’s primary tasks for this engagement are as follows:

  • Initial evaluation of the Yolo Food Bank’s programs and services, current sources of food, and its Partner Agencies’ operations, capacities and other available relevant data;
  • Operational Review of the Yolo Food Bank:
    • Assessing key aspects of Yolo Food Bank’s operations; and
    • Determining if, and under what conditions, additional capacity could be increased to more than the planned 50% capacity increase if necessary;
  • Food Sourcing Assessment:
    • Assessing the Yolo Food Bank’s current sources for food;
    • Projecting the amount of additional pre-consumer edible food in Yolo County that is currently disposed from farms, manufacturing/wholesale sources, and consumer-facing businesses;
    • Projecting the total available SB 1383 Tier 1 and Tier 2 edible food, and percent of that total currently captured;
    • Developing a Sourcing Plan to secure 2 million additional pounds of food annually.
  • Partner Agency Capacity Assessment & Distribution System Assessment:
    • Assessing the capacity that exists within the Partner Agency network based on existing staffing and resources (number of additional meals per day that can be distributed if available); and
    • Assessing and documenting the geographic need within Yolo County and for each willing Partner Agency.

R3 is also assisting the Yolo Food Bank in maintaining compliance with the requirements of SB 1383 related to Edible Food Recovery Services and Organizations, as well as SB 1383 reporting requirements placed in edible food generators.

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.

R3 is currently engaged by the City of El Cajon (City) to provide procurement assistance regarding the City’s franchise agreement with Waste Management for the collection of residential and commercial solid waste, which expires in December 2020. For this engagement, R3’s primary objective is to assist the City in procuring a solid waste collection Agreement that provides the highest level of service to the City’s residents and businesses at the best cost, and accounts for all state legislative requirements.

R3 is acting as an extension of the City staff for all tasks of this engagement, by developing a knowledge base of the City’s current solid waste collection programs.

In late 2019, R3 developed a request for proposals (RFP), including a draft franchise agreement outlining program requirements. The RFP was issued to qualified hauler, and as a result, the City received three qualified proposals.

R3 assisted in the evaluation of the proposals by providing the City’s proposal evaluation team with a summary of the qualifications, technical approach (transition, operations, customer service, diversion, education and outreach plans), reference checks, and proposed service rates provided by each proposer.

Through the negotiation process, R3 will also assist the City staff with:

  • Conducting interviews with proposers;
  • Preparing staff reports;
  • Conducting negotiation sessions, as necessary;
  • Finalizing the Agreement; and
  • Assisting City staff with making City Council presentations.

Anticipated project benefits include the following:

  • Finalization of a high-diversion Agreement for solid waste collection that incorporates new legislation to address franchised hauler requirements and City compliance, including AB 341, AB 1594, SB 1383, and AB 1826;
  • Verification that the City is adequately compensated by the franchisee through franchise, road impact fees, surcharge and/or AB 939 fees; and
  • Increase of the City’s overall landfill diversion through the promotion of re-use, recycling, composting, and source reduction strategies and programs.

R3 is currently engaged to assist California State Polytechnic University at Pomona (Cal Poly) procure a solid waste hauler for solid waste, recycling, organics, and stable bedding collection services by developing a Franchise Agreement (Agreement) aligned with the University’s sustainability policy. For this engagement, R3 conducted the following main tasks:

  • Conduct an initial audit of Cal Poly’s existing baseline service level with comparison of subscribed service levels against the actual levels of provided service to ensure that Cal Poly is currently receiving the services that are paid for;
  • Analyze findings from the audit to provide accurate minimum required service level for use in the RFP;
  • Determine Cal Poly’s collection need and develop procurement strategy;
  • Prepare and issue RFP package;
  • Review and evaluate submitted proposals, including assembling an Evaluation Team and conducting interviews;
  • Develop a contract management guide for Cal Poly that clearly identifies important terms and conditions of the Agreement, such as monthly, quarterly and annual reports, diversion reports, and outreach and education;
  • Provide contract management training and support to one designated Cal Poly staff person with responsibility for management and oversight of the selected hauler; and
  • Provide on-call assistance to Cal Poly during the transition to the newly selected hauler following the RFP process.

Project objectives include the following benefits:

  • Incorporation of new solid waste services, programs, and rates into Cal Poly’s new Agreement with the selected hauler;
  • Compliance with regulatory requirements, including SB 1383; and
  • Benchmarking of the Cal Poly solid waste system’s effectiveness, sustainability efforts, and future needs to improve the collection efficiency and material diversion.