Concerning proposed changes to the City of Santa Ana curbside cart refuse services charge.


The State of California has established a variety of mandates (Assembly Bills 939, 341, 1826, among others) requiring all jurisdictions (i.e., responsible cities, counties, and regional agencies) in the State to comply with measures to manage and control solid waste generation.  Included in these mandates are requirements to divert a minimum of 50% of waste from landfills and to implement recycling programming. One of the newest State mandates, Assembly Bill 1594 (AB 1594), went into effect on January 1, 2020.  AB 1594 eliminates diversion credit for green waste that is sent to County landfills as Alternative Daily Cover (ADC) and reclassifies it as waste disposal for purposes of measuring a jurisdiction’s compliance with State mandates.


The State of California defines Alternative Daily Cover (ADC) as “…cover material other than earthen material placed on the surface of…a municipal solid waste landfill at the end of each operating day.”  ADC helps to control vectors, fires, odors, blowing litter, and scavenging.  (See for additional information.)


The City of Santa Ana has contracted with Waste Management (WM) to provide citywide refuse collection services.  Prior to the implementation of AB 1594, green waste collected from the City’s customers by WM was minimally processed by a third-party green waste facility, transferred to landfills to be used as ADC, and the City received diversion credit. To continue receiving diversion credit under the new restrictions of AB 1594, the green waste is now being composted by the third-party green waste facility, but at a higher cost to WM.   

On March 17, 2020, City Council approved a one-year extension (from June 30, 2021, through June 30, 2022) of the Solid Waste Services agreement with WM.  The extension agreement also addresses the January 1, 2020, restrictions of AB 1594 through immediate implementation of composting (Council Action). Additionally, the Council Action provides for a service rate increase, subject to completion of a Proposition 218 process (Prop 218 Notice). 


The rate increases are structured to directly align with WM’s increased cost for composting green waste (rate increase calculation). The estimated annual cost increase of $1.7M is based on a proposed cost of $90.13 per ton to process and compost green waste, versus the previous cost of $33.13 per ton to use green waste as landfill ADC.  Through staff and consultant negotiation with WM, WM is providing this composting service at no cost to ratepayers from January 1 through June 30, 2020. To ease the burden on ratepayers, subsequent rate increases will be implemented in two phases. If, through the Proposition 218 process, the rate increases are passed, a rate adjustment of $1.90 per residential unit per month will occur effective July 1, 2020 (representing 55% of the actual cost increase per unit). For the final year, a second rate adjustment of $1.50 per residential unit per month will occur effective July 1, 2021, (representing 98% of the actual cost increase per unit) for a total rate adjustment of $3.40 per residential unit per month. 


By allowing the rate increases for this service change, the City will be able to remain in compliance with State mandates for waste disposal and recycling and avoid potential enforcement actions, such as fines..  When compared to neighboring cities, the typical Santa Ana customer will continue to pay a similar amount, on average, for curbside cart service as compared to its neighboring cities, such as Garden Grove, Brea, Fullerton and Yorba Linda.

The City of Santa Ana welcomes your participation and input throughout the Prop 218 process as the City Council considers these rate adjustments. In this Prop 218 Notice, learn how you can participate in the process and have your voice heard. The Public Hearing is scheduled for June 2, 2020.