Los Angeles’ plan to become “zero waste” by 2025 relies heavily upon their ability to shift solids and waste byproducts to other counties. But Central Valley residents are fighting back against the unintended consequences of waste – smell and pollution.

The sparsely populated counties of King and Kern offer Los Angeles something it lacks: space. That’s why LA owns thousands of acres in the counties, and sends a convoy of semi-trucks over the mountains each day to deposit tons of material for composting and recycling. The daily deliveries have propelled the Central Valley to the state’s leading composting region, with nearly 60 percent of all non-agricultural compost. Without the land offered by their neighbors, Los Angles would have trouble meeting state guidelines for recycling, which the City hopes to eclipse by 2025.

But locals in the Central Valley are crying foul over the stench, safety regulations, and pollution. In 2006, they approved a ban of importing ‘sludge’ from other counties. Sludge is comprised of biosolids that are removed from water that is either flushed or flows down the drain. Described as batter-like, the substance is safe if handled properly to destroy any pathogens or bacteria. However, concern continues to mount over inflammable materials that may remain in the sludge after heating.

The 2006 ban remains tied up in courts.

Read the full story at the Los Angles Times.