Placer County seeks to further address trash issues in North Lake Tahoe

Published Jan. 12, 2021 

Responding to recent health and safety concerns with trash in the North Lake Tahoe region, the Placer County Board of Supervisors voted today in support of potentially increasing trash service requirements in eastern Placer County.

“For a number of years, we have seen a growing problem of household trash being placed in public trash cans and commercial bins in eastern Placer County, which has been exacerbated this year with COVID-19,” said District 5 Supervisor Cindy Gustafson. “This is one part of a comprehensive plan by the county to address trash issues, which also includes increased garbage pickup at public sites, requiring vacation home rentals to prove service and additional education. Just across the county line, the Town of Truckee does not allow trash exemptions. This amendment seeks to address the community need, while still allowing flexibility for eligible residents.”

Previously, residential and commercial property owners were eligible for an exemption from trash service if their property would not be occupied for a month or longer. 

Overabundance of trash has become an increasing public concern, health hazard and wildlife safety issue. Overflowing trash receptacles have resulted in windblown litter attracting wildlife, including bears, and created unsafe wildlife interactions in the North Tahoe area. Public trash cans and commercial bins have become dropping points for trash from areas without sufficient disposal service, increasing trash concerns in Tahoe. 

The proposed ordinance amendment would still allow exemptions from mandatory trash service if the home or business is unoccupied for an entire quarter. The exemption timelines span from January to March, April to June, July to September and October to December. An exemption form certifying the property will not be occupied, would be required before each quarter, starting April 1, with forms due by March 15. If a residence or business is found occupied, service would start immediately and the owner would be billed for the entire quarter. 

Trash mitigation challenges in outdoor destinations across the country are on the rise during the pandemic. Placer County has been working on short-term and long-term solutions, while coordinating with local agencies and business organizations on a regular basis to discuss strategies and implement solutions. In the past year, Placer County increased trash services, added additional trash bins and added signage to raise awareness on the issue. The county also has a bear box incentive program as well as on-call large item pickup service managed by Tahoe Truckee Sierra Disposal.  

With today’s approval of a first reading of the ordinance amendment, it will return to the board for adoption at its Jan. 26 meeting. If approved, it would go into effect April 1, with exemption requests being opened from Feb. 15 to March 15. 

More information on the potential amendment can be found here. High-resolution b-roll of trash pickup services can be accessed here.