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Master Operations Agreement

The Master Operations Agreement (MOA), which became effective April 1st 2015, is the product of the three-year Solid Waste Advisory Group (SWAG) collaborative process between the Cities, the County and a diverse group of public stakeholders. This public process was launched to build consensus regarding Sonoma County's long-term solid waste and recycling strategy. The provisions of the MOA have been carefully crafted to accomplish the fundamental goals identified through this comprehensive public process. These goals included creating a system that provides:

  • Increased diversion - decreased disposal
  • Public ownership for "local control" - Private operations for "economic efficiencies"
  • No pre-set volume (put-or-pay) disposal commitments - Supports increased diversion & local flexibility
  • Long term liability relief for closure, post-closure, and the unforeseen at the Central Landfill site
  • A sustainable rate model that works with high levels of waste diversion
  • In-county landfill to end reliance on outhaul export of Sonoma County trash
  • Quantifiable greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions
  • Ongoing funding for regional education, household hazardous waste, & other programs
  • Long term solution for composting and organics processing at Central Landfill
  • Support for local businesses
  • Ongoing funding source for closed county landfill sites

The participants in the SWAG process recognized the significant challenges facing Sonoma County to make the necessary enhancements to our current system to accomplish the policy goals of protecting the environment, increasing diversion, managing our own waste stream in-county, addressing long-term liability and doing all of this on a cost effective basis for the ratepayers. The SWAG, after a long, transparent and public deliberation arrived at a clear preference for addressing this challenge through a model of Public system ownership combined with Private sector funding and operations. This model harnesses the strengths of both types of organizations to the benefit of the community.

Benefits from the Private Sector

  • Funding of $119 million in infrastructure development
  • Closure and post closure maintenance costs
  • Liability indemnification in perpetuity for the Cities and the County
  • Construction of a Material Recovery Facility (MRF)
  • Guaranteed diversion commitment
  • Overall economic efficiencies

Benefits from the Public Sector

  • The County retains ownership of all infrastructure and property for long-term flexibility
  • Public enforcement of ongoing contract compliance
  • Public oversight of County-owned infrastructure
  • Long-term stable and predictable rate structure with public oversight
  • Opportunity to introduce new programs or future technology 

Under the MOA contract, Sonoma County retains ownership of the current Transfer and Disposal System. The Cities of Sonoma County have committed their waste flow to Republic Services for a 25-year term.

In exchange for the 25-year waste flow commitment, cities will not be held responsible for closure, post-closure maintenance and unforeseen costs such as liabilities related to the landfill, and they will receive  new services and programs that have been incorporated to accomplish the SWAG goals highlighted above.