Editor’s note: This is part of a periodic series telling the story behind various sights in Solano County
FAIRFIELD — Near Highway 12 and Pennsylvania Avenue is a weedy mound of some five acres in the midst of seasonal wetlands surrounded by a chain-link fence.
The site is an abandoned dump. Fairfield operated it during the late 1970s and threw out such things as concrete and dirt, as well as trash and leaves from street sweeping. The city used the property for composting, according to county records.
Fairfield declared the property surplus in 1982, though it leased the land in the mid-1990s to store construction materials.
In recent years, the old dump site posed problems. People dumped trash there, weeds grew tall and the homeless stayed there. Fires broke out.
In 2010, Solano County decided the private landowners weren’t doing enough. It got about $100,000 from Cal Recycle to put up a better fence around the land and to clean up the weeds. Upon sale of the property, the money is to be repaid through a lien.
“It is inspected routinely,” county Environmental Health Division Manager Terry Schmidtbauer said recently. “We do follow up. We do go out there. We have the keys to the lock there. If the owners want to access it, they contact us.”
The latest quarterly inspection showed the fence is still intact and no signs of homeless people staying at the site, he said. The weeds have started growing again.
Solano County for now cannot get another state grant from Cal Recycle to do more work there, he said. The grant is for mitigating conditions at abandoned landfills.
“We would have to wait for there to be pretty extensive hazardous conditions before we could access those funds again,” Schmidtbauer said. “Before, there was no perimeter protection, there was homeless living at the site, there were fires.”
Someday, the old dump could be more than a nuisance. It is in the 87-acre Gentry area that Suisun City has long looked at developing for commercial uses. The city in 2006 released a draft environmental report for a proposed development there, but nothing happened.
For now, the old dump remains a weedy mound with a fence around it.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.