San Jose

Milpitas Residents in Uproar Over Landfill Expansion Plan

The odor wafting from the Newby Island Landfill has been a point of contention for nearby Milpitas residents for decades, and now a new expansion plan for the dump has them enraged.

A group of those residents has even resorted to blocking the gate to the dump, not letting anyone come in or go out, as a means to protest its imminent growth.

The landfill just off Dixon Landing Road and Interstate 880 is so close to some homes that residents say when the wind blows, it’s downright disgusting.

"It's like the combination of sewage and rotten garbage," neighbor Arzhang Kalbali said.

NBC Bay Area
Newby Island Landfill near Milpitas.

Some Milpitas residents are being more aggressive over their distaste of the odor of garbage.

"I don't want to be poisoned by the landfill," Richard Li said.

A plan from landfill operators – Republic Services – would expand the facility to 15 million cubic yards in order to accept more trash. It also would extend the closure date to 2041.

"It's not good for us; it's not good for my kids," Kalbali said.

The residents say that the odor and health risk are not the only drawbacks. There's also depreciating property values.

"It comes over us and comes over the city, and when the wind is right it's not going away," Dan Strohfus said about the sometimes unbearable odor.

Officials with Newby Island say they aren’t looking for war with residents. They hope to find common ground. They released a statement saying: "We have worked hard over the years to engage with our neighbors, listen to any concerns and involve the community in a responsible expansion process. Ultimately, the landfill is a vital asset for the Bay Area, and its expansion will enable our community to address their needs for environmental services in the future."

The San Jose Planning Commision is set to vote on the measure in the coming weeks.

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