Work is expected to begin in the spring and take about 18 months to complete.
"Awarding the contract for the MRL rail spur and intermodal facility is a major milestone in the development of the waste-by-rail system that will provide an innovative, environmentally responsible, regional solid waste disposal solution," said Janet Coke, manager of the Sanitation Districts waste-by-rail project. "The enormity of the project also will bring numerous construction jobs to the Imperial Valley."
The MRL project calls for the construction of a 100-acre intermodal facility, similar to what is commonly seen at seaports where containers are moved by crane from ships onto tractor-trailer trucks for delivery. A similar process will move containerized MSW from rail cars onto trucks for disposal in the landfill. Additionally, the infrastructure project requires construction of a 4.5 mile rail spur to connect with the Union Pacific main line about one mile northwest near Glamis. A bridge to span storm water control channels on the landfill property also will be built.
The Sanitation Districts went out to bid on the project in July after signing an agreement with Union Pacific that spells out the terms and conditions for transporting up to two unit trains a day, each carrying 4,000 tons of waste, to the Mesquite Regional Landfill.
At the same time, construction will be under way on the Puente Hills Intermodal Facility, where sorted trash will be loaded onto trains for the 200-mile trip to the Mesquite Regional Landfill. The access road construction has begun for an intermodal project that is estimated to cost $100 million. The project is expected to be completed in early 2012.
The Mesquite Regional Landfill was fully built in 2008. The state-of-the art landfill includes a road and drainage system, a water distribution system and the modular offices to house landfill staff. The first cell of the landfill has been lined with a five-foot-thick multi-layer system that exceeds state, federal and local standards.
To get the Mesquite Regional Landfill into operation before the rail infrastructure is completed and to provide greater flexibility in its early years of operation, the Sanitation District has proposed that Imperial County modify the permit governing the facility. The Sanitation District has requested that Imperial County allow the trucking of a limited amount of waste to the landfill. The proposed permit modification seeks permission to truck up to 4,000 tons per day of waste a day, 1/5th of what the landfill is permitted to receive. A draft environmental impact report, with air and traffic studies of the proposal, is expected to be released soon.
The Mesquite Regional Landfill is permitted to receive up to 20,000 tons per day of municipal solid waste, after it has been sorted to remove recyclables and hazardous waste. Up to 1,000 tons per day of the waste that the landfill receives is reserved for Imperial County waste. At peak operation, the Mesquite Regional Landfill is expected to employee about 250 people and to pay Imperial County fees of about $17 million a year.