The Kern County Public Works Department operates seven landfills throughout the county. Landfills are located in Bakersfield (Bena Landfill), Boron, Mojave-Rosamond, Ridgecrest, Shafter-Wasco, Taft, and Tehachapi. A sanitary landfill, which used to be called a “dump”, is a site for the disposal of waste materials by burial. It is the oldest form of waste treatment. Historically, landfills have been the most common methods of organized waste disposal and remain so in many places around the world. Kern County landfills are also used for other waste management purposes, such as the temporary storage, consolidation, recycling and transfer.

Typically, in sanitary landfills, procedures are used by which waste is:

  1. Confined to as small an area as possible.
  2. Compacted to reduce size/volume.
  3. Covered (daily) with layers of soil or other cover material.

During landfill hours of operation, waste collection vehicles (commercial trash trucks and residential pick-up trucks/trailers) are weighed on a scale at the gate. The load may be inspected for wastes that do not comply with the landfill’s waste acceptance criteria. Afterward, all vehicles use the existing road network to reach the tipping pad or working face, where they unload the trash. All county landfills have areas for diversion as well. Metals, cardboard, green and wood waste, electronic waste, concrete and asphalt are materials that can be reused or recycled. The Department’s goal is to divert as much material as possible from landfill burial to prolong the landfill’s life. After loads are deposited, bulldozers are used to spread and compact the waste on the working face. Before leaving the landfill, all vehicles return to the gatehouse area in order to be weighed without their load. As a result of the weighing process, daily incoming waste tonnage can be calculated and recorded. In addition to standard trash trucks and pick-up trucks and trailers, roll-off trucks (with a 20, 30 or 40 cublic yard bin) can also dispose material at local landfills. Compacted waste is “covered” each day with “daily cover” including dirt, tarps and other alternative materials.