All About Landfills

Orange County has three landfills:

  • Frank R. Bowerman Landfill in Irvine
  • Olinda Alpha Landfill in Brea
  • Prima Deshecha Landfill in San Juan Capistrano

The good news is these landfills have enough empty space to remain open for many years. But the population of Orange County is only expected to grow, and individuals are generating more waste than ever. By consciously reducing our personal waste, we’ll truly be saving room for tomorrow in OC’s landfills.

The Anatomy Of A Landfill

The Future Of Solid Waste Disposal

The Development of Modern Landfills

In days gone by, communities hauled trash to the “town dump,” buried it in a hole in the ground, covered it up, and forgot about it. Now local governments must design, operate, monitor, and close sanitary landfills in accordance with stringent and very costly federal and state regulations. These regulations require OC Waste & Recycling to control landfill gas, protect ground and surface water from contamination, prevent hazardous waste from entering the landfills, and assure that any hazardous waste that is discovered on site is properly handled, stored, and disposed of at a permitted facility designed to accept hazardous materials.

Daily Routine

Each day waste is delivered to the landfill in a variety of vehicles. At the landfill, trucks are directed to designated unloading areas where the waste is dumped, checked for hazardous or other unacceptable material, and pushed into place by bulldozers. The waste is then compacted and covered by an approved cover material (soil, foam, tarps or greenwaste). One day’s worth of waste is called a cell .These cells are developed next to each other ultimately forming a lift or layer of trash. These lifts have been planned for in each landfill’s master development plan. Lifts are constructed until a final elevation is reached which is the time the landfill stops receiving trash and closes.

When A Landfill Becomes Full

After the landfill closes, the site is capped and continues to be monitored for landfill gas and groundwater for a minimum of 30 years. During that time, the landfill site can be developed into a golf course, park or open space.

The Future of Solid Waste Disposal in Orange County

As Orange County’s population continues to grow so will its waste. OC Waste & Recycling is responsible for ensuring that County waste is disposed of in a way that protects public health, safety and the environment.

To learn more about Orange County landfills, visit