- During a May 19 meeting, the Los Angeles Board of Public Works (BPW) unanimously approved a $2 million contract with CB&l Environmental & Infrastructure to conduct an in-sink disposal pilot. Once the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation (LASAN) gives a notice to proceed, this contract will run for 18 months with the option of a 12-month extension.
- The pilot will be conducted at 519 households in the Playa Vista neighborhood on the western side of the city. This neighborhood was chosen because of its proximity to the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant, where the organic material will be digested into biogas.
- CB&I was one of two bidders, beating out CH2M Hill Engineers. Their role as the city's consultant will include project management, resident outreach, waste characterization surveys and a number of other services. The main goals of the pilot are to study demographic trends among regular users, assess how the organic material affects operations at the Hyperion facility and look at whether the program could be scaled up to other neighborhoods.
This pilot originated with a 2012 request for qualifications and ramped up last summer when LASAN held a pre-proposal meeting that resulted in the two bids it received. During last week's BPW meeting this was described as one of multiple approaches to achieving the city's goal of 95% landfill diversion by 2025, as well as broader state diversion mandates. Board members also expressed an interest in seeing future phases of this project expanded to areas with varying demographics to gauge participation. Playa Vista is a recently built high-end neighborhood sometimes referred to as "Silicon Beach."
Los Angeles will follow multiple other cities that have conducted in-sink pilots in households of varying demographics. Following a successful pilot, Philadelphia now mandates the installation of in-sink units in new construction. Following its own pilot, Boston has also decided to install in-sink disposers in an estimated 4,000 public housing units.
Though these units may not be able to handle the full range of organic material that residents generate, they could still end up playing a useful role in overall waste diversion efforts for Los Angeles. Earlier this month, LASAN also announced an organics diversion pilot for select restaurants at LAX airport and the BPW recently established a Stop Food Waste Task Force. This is all in addition to the larger commercial waste franchise system that BPW signed off on last year, which may have the greatest organics diversion potential of all.