City manager Ty Lewis announced new assistant manager Chris Hoet

PASO ROBLES — On Nov. 16, the Paso Robles City Council meeting included the introduction of a new solid waste ordinance, presented by Wastewater Resource Manager and Interim Solid Waste Coordinator Matt Thompson.

Council approved the new ordinance with a 4-1 vote, Councilman John Hammon dissented.

Hammon’s comments and questions audio were unclear through the live stream on YouTube. However, during the vote, he clarified that he would be voting no because of how the ordinance is written.

Getting through this together, Paso Robles

The State Legislature passed Senate Bill (SB) 1383 in 2016, which sets a goal to reduce the disposal of organic material to landfills by 75 percent by 2025. The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) adopted regulations to implement SB 1383 in November 2020.

The new regulations included all cities, residential households, multi-family dwellings, commercial businesses, commercial edible food generators, waste haulers, and food recovery organizations to support the statewide goal to reduce organic waste disposal in landfills.

The City prepared the proposed ordinance using a model document prepared by CalRecycle, with assistance from San Luis Obispo County Integrated Waste Management Authority (IWMA). The proposed ordinance is consistent with all other cities in San Luis Obispo County.

In Paso Robles, all single-family residential solid waste customers and many commercial customers already have a three-container system, including a green waste container. SB 1383 Regulations and the proposed ordinance anticipate that food waste will be disposed in the green container instead of the black trash container. Some commercial customers and multi-family dwellings that do not currently have a green container will be required to get one. Some commercial customers may have space constraints or generate a negligible amount of organic waste. These customers may be eligible for a waiver from SB 1383 requirements. Paso Waste and IWMA will assist the City with the processing of waiver requests.

Thompson explains, “The whole intent behind putting the organic waste into the green waste bin is to keep it out of the landfill, and it’s also an opportunity in the future to turn that waste into a renewable source of energy, renewable natural gas.”

The new regulations will take effect on Jan. 1, 2022.

Paso Waste will haul organic waste collected in green containers to either a large composting facility or an anaerobic digestion facility in San Luis Obispo. This will generate an ample supply of “organic waste products” (generally compost, mulch, and renewable natural gas).

In the future, the City will host free compost giveaway events and use over 3,000 tons of compost or mulch each year.

In the long term, Paso Waste has plans to install an anaerobic digester at their yard on Wallace Drive. Anaerobic digesters are an environmentally friendly alternative to composting. Anaerobic digesters break down organic waste and produce renewable natural gas. This renewable natural gas may be used in conjunction with Paso Waste’s existing compressed natural gas facility to fuel its fleet of natural-gas powered trash trucks and other natural gas vehicles.

Paso Robles City Manager Ty Lewis announced the new assistant city manager hire, Chris Huot from Bakersfield. Huot will begin his new position on Jan. 3, 2022.

Lewis also informed the council that staff has wrapped up the recruitment process for a new police chief. Staff is currently working through background investigations and are hopeful to have a new police chief in place by the end of the year.

Lewis also took time to thank city staff after concluding his third month as city manager. There will be a staff report prepared on Barney Swartz park with updates for the next city council meeting.

The next regularly scheduled City Council will be Dec. 7 at 6:30 p.m.