Construction and demolition debris ordinance


By Dave Roberts

Mayor, city of Solana Beach

One recent Saturday afternoon, my son Robert and I attended an educational program at the Solana Beach Library called “Go Green @ Your Library” hosted by the California Center for Sustainable Energy which presented easy tips to save the earth, including tips on recycling, energy and water conservation.

During the question and answer part of the program, the topic turned to recycling construction and demolition debris which the presenter did not realize Solana Beach had already enacted, so I thought I would update you on this new ordinance which was passed unanimously by the City Council earlier this year.

Even though Solana Beach is 98 percent built-out, remodels in our community are at an all-time high. Construction and demolition debris is caused by remodels and can be a significant portion of our community’s waste stream. This debris includes concrete, asphalt, wood, drywall, metals, and many miscellaneous and composite materials. Diverting this debris from our landfills can help us achieve and maintain our diversion goals established by California State Law AB 939.

State Law AB 939 requires all municipalities to divert at least 50 percent of the solid waster generated from landfill disposal. The potential penalty for not meeting the State’s 50 percent diversion requirement is up to $10,000 per day for non-compliance. This hammer, plus our community’s strong desire to have an environmentally sustainable reputation, caused our council to act.

So last January, our City Council passed a new construction and demolition recycling ordinance (No. 377) to divert debris from landfills and to increase our city’s diversion rate. Specifically, this ordinance requires contractors and demolition haulers who are working on covered construction, demolition or renovation projects with the city to divert their debris through reuse or recycling. This ordinance requires all building permit applicants for all covered projects to submit a Waste Management Plan (WMP) when applying for a permit. The WMP will estimate the weight of debris that will be generated from the projects, the weight of the material to be reused or recycled, and the weight of material to be taken to the landfill. Our ordinance requires at least 50 percent diversion of all debris tonnage generated on the project.

This proposed ordinance is designed to apply to construction and demolition diversion requirements for larger projects. Staff reviewed permits issued in 2006 and determined that there were 34 projects that would have been covered by this ordinance if it had been in effect. While this ordinance only applies to projects with a value of $100,000 or greater, the city is strongly recommending recycling for all construction and demolition projects. Specific questions on this ordinance can be answered by our city staff at (858) 720-2477. And thanks for doing your part to help sustain our fragile environment!

If you would like to contact me directly about this or any other issues in our community, please just drop me a line at