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Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians Improving Collection and Disposal of Household Hazardous Waste

Proper Handling of Solid and
Hazardous Waste Protects
Drinking Water Quality

Last year, the La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians was awarded two new grants from the EPA to assist in the further development and management of the Tribe’s transfer station. The Tribe received a 2009 Tribal Solid Waste Management Assistance Project Grant and a 2009 Hazardous Waste Management Grant from EPA. The Tribe currently operates a transfer station on their reservation located in Northern San Diego County, California.

The Luiseño people, traditionally known as the Payomkawichum, or People of the West, have lived in that region for at least 10,000 years. The traditional range of the Luiseño people was from the Warner Springs area to the east, up to at least the San Juan Capistrano area to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and down to the Escondido area to the south.

The La Jolla Indian Reservation encompasses nearly 10,000 acres, and the topography is mountainous with elevations ranging from 900 feet to more than 5,000 feet. Tribal membership consists of approximately 750 people. The Tribe currently owns and operates two business enterprises, including a campground and a general store.

The Tribe has had an Environmental Protection Office since 1996 and they have worked very hard to create programs and secure resources that will protect human and environmental health.

The Tribe is implementing programs for air quality monitoring, water quality monitoring, nonpoint source pollution control, waste tire collection, recycling, household hazardous waste and wastewater treatment. Successes for the Tribe include removing over 4000 waste tires from the Reservation, implementing a recycling program for their Tribal Offices, implementing an electronic waste recycling program and CRV collection center, creation of a drought contingency plan, and constructing a solid waste transfer station, wastewater treatment facility and a domestic water filtration plant. The Tribe is also focusing their efforts to work collaboratively with several nearby Reservations.

Participant cleaning up used tires in La Jolla in 2007
Waste Tire Clean Up
Performing a waste stream analysis informs the ISWMP
Performing a waste stream analysis informs the ISWMP

The La Jolla Transfer Station currently collects solid waste from the community, sorts the waste, and sends it to the appropriate disposal site. The Tribe generates funding for maintaining the facility by recycling paper, cans, bottles, and scrap metal. The Tribe also has a drop off area for large items, such as stoves and refrigerators which are also recycled. In addition, batteries and tires are collected and properly recycled. The new Household Hazardous Waste drop off location allows community members to properly dispose of items such as used motor oil and old paint cans. Consolidating and properly disposing of this waste will contribute to the protection of water resources and the reservation environment as a whole.

The 2009 Tribal Solid Waste Management Assistance Project grant will enable the La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians to update the Tribe’s Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan (ISWMP). An ISWMP is a comprehensive waste prevention, recycling, composting, and disposal plan. This plan is the most critical element in the long term planning and operation of the Tribe’s solid waste management program. The updated ISWMP will incorporate new information about tribal needs and conditions on recycling, hazardous waste management, waste reduction, pollution prevention, and monitoring. This will ensure development of the most appropriate waste management activities for the Tribe.

The 2009 Hazardous Waste Management Grant will fund proper collection and disposal of household hazardous waste (HHW) at the Tribe’s transfer station. HHW is leftover household products that contain corrosive, toxic, ignitable, or reactive ingredients. These products require special care when you store and dispose of them. Therefore the project will provide education and outreach to the community on the proper storage and disposal of household hazardous waste.

To learn more about the La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians, go to their Web site, La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians Exiting EPA (disclaimer)

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