Decommission Upper Napa Valley Waste Sites
Decommission Upper Napa Valley Waste Sites
Dear Napa Valley Neighbors and Friends, May 3rd, 2021
The letter below is intended to be sent to public officials and possibly introduced to the local press for publication. You are receiving it for review and comment because you have indicated that you would be willing to lend your voice and support to our efforts around these and other issues related to UVDS. We fear if we do not make a stand today that we will lose any opportunity to stand up for our rights as the landholders surrounding these properties, and as community members concerned with what will happen next.
The purpose is to make you aware of our grave concerns regarding not only past grievances but the Company’s request to amend their Conditional Use Permit as well as begin processing up to 7,000 tons of food waste on an open concrete platform in July.
We reside and work in an environment that is delicately balanced to exist for generations to come. For this reason, we believe that two constantly increasing refuse collection and storage sites located in the center and upper portions of this noted and unique agricultural preserve are no longer in the best interest of the citizens of the region at large as well as those living close at hand.
The problems are not limited to odors, noise pollution (breaking glass and trucks), light pollution, water pollution and rodent control. The risk of fires in what will be a higher risk season will be an ongoing threat to our homes, our agricultural lands and our lifestyle in general. Ever growing piles of compost continue to grow vertically and horizontally. This has the potential to create biologic flammable hot spots, as we saw in December of 2020, when neighbors took footage of a spontaneous fire that emerged at the Whitehall Lane facility. Much of the compost being made at this facility consists of grape waste produced outside of our own county and trucked into Rutherford for processing, an operation that continues to be expanded without a clear plan for removal of finished product. Now they want to add 7,000 tons of food waste. This is a ticking time bomb.
Which begs the question, “Why is a waste operation in a residential neighborhood awarded a non-competitive sole source contract?” The County issued no RFP and sought no other competitive bids before renewing and expanding the contracts with UVDS for a total of close to 100 years on two facilities. To our knowledge no Environmental Impact Review as mandated by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQUA) has ever been performed.
Having made numerous complaints with both the county and the vendor, neighbors are floored to discover that an RFP — the standard of practice in any business or municipality to ensure a fair and transparent award of lucrative contracts, not to mention a “check and balance” process to review available options around best service, best in class compliance to all state and federal laws, protection of the environment and, sometimes, a period of public comment so that affected members of the population may weigh in or voice complaints — was simply passed up by current administration. Especially when it appears by all accounts that those that reside near and around the facilities in question feel more strongly than ever that the situation has deteriorated to a point that property values are being negatively impacted not to mention the daily quality of life for all of us who live and work nearby.
We strongly urge our elected officials to immediately enact a third-party audit of UVDS to review all permitting and historical information regarding the growth and expansion of commercial services being allowed in the middle of this residential and agricultural landscape.
We are further outraged that there was absolutely no competitive bidding process enacted for this business and would like reasonable and public disclosure as to the exact decision making process followed by existing employees in awarding these contracts with no community feedback and no RFP. There are other vendors operating within Napa County who provide these services so the answer being given that there simply were no other reasonable options from which to choose seems highly questionable.
Recently, it has also come to the attention of the general public that the PFAS (forever chemicals) were detected in ALL samples in groundwater, leachate and leachate/condensate samples at Clover Flat Landfill. No such sampling has been called for at the Whitehall Lane facility in advance of additional service permits and we are deeply concerned. We believe based on our own personal experiences of ongoing and ever increasing noise, fire, and foul smell that existing operations may be detrimental to our health, wells, soils, air quality, threat of fire, enjoyment of our property and so much more. And we believe that the profit-making endeavors of one family-owned operation should not outweigh the health and safety concerns of an entire community.
Napa Valley Neighbors and Friends,
If you agree with the concerns voiced here, please consider signing on to this letter by providing your name as a concerned citizen on the attached signature page. We also encourage all of you to send letters, and consider testifying at upcoming public meetings as well as meeting with various parties and elected officials as you see fit.
Whitehall Lane Neighbors